Mumbai: The OiLibya Rally of Morocco 2017 is in the books. After five eventful stages the Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders Joaquim Rodrigues and CS Santosh crossed the finish line in Erfoud to achieve an encouraging result.
Rodrigues ended the rally in seventh place overall, and CS Santosh at fifteen,improving on last year´s result.
The closing stage of the rally today went rather smooth compared to the previous stages, where flooded riverbeds and bad weather caused several changes to the race. Eventually, the final 180-km loop in the area of Erfoud consolidated the top ten result for Rodrigues as well as Santosh´s best-ever finish in the Moroccan race.
Joaquim Rodrigues:”In the beginning, the stage went well and I rode at a decent pace. But while crossing the dunesI landed in the flat while jumping over a dune and bruised my chest and my chin, and had to take five stitches for the same. Overall though the rally was really good for me. I´m improving and the bike is also much better. Things are looking good for the Dakar and we´re ready.
CS Santosh: “Going into this rally we knew it was going to be an important test with the new bike. I was really excited to see the evolution of our rally machine. We got here, did some testing and it was really promising, I absolutely loved it straight away. The overall goal for the event was to complete the five days and to ride as many kilometres as possible. From day one I made good progress and built up every day. I definitely didn´t repeat the mistakes I made last year. I gave a lot of attention to navigation and for sure my speed improved. Happy to go to the Dakar with a feeling like this.”
Team manager Wolfgang Fischer: “After several months of intensive preparation with our new rally bike, we are more than happy and couldn´t ask for more, than finishing with both bikes without any technical problems. This final round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship brings us the first top ten result for Joaquim Rodrigues in a world championship event. We´re now looking forward to our next big target – the Dakar Rally. A huge thanks to everyone on the team and everyone involved for the hard and dedicated work.”