It was another good day for Portuguese motorcycle ace Joaquim Rodrigues at the OiLibya Rally Morocco. The 36-year-old Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider continued his excellent form to maintain his seventh place in the overall standings. With one more day to go at this final round of the FIM Cross Country World Championship, ‘JRod’ withhis best-ever finish on the rally circuit, a discipline he joined as a rookie only 18 months ago.
Rodrigues´ teammate CS Santosh meanwhile had a tricky day. Instead of the previously announced 482-km special test, the action against the clock was shortened to 170 kilometers, therefore allowing much less room to recover from a mistake that cost him 21 min on the clock. As a result he finished the stage at 21st position but overall, Santosh still managed to retain his top 15 standing.
Joaquim Rodrigues:”These are short but difficult and dangerous days. Because of the rain there were a lot of rivers, a lot of rocks, making it dangerous to ride. The last two stages werefreaky and fast and I´m happy to be here safe. I am now ready for tomorrow’s stage. The bike is helping me perform and it´s giving me a lot of confidence. I made a few navigational mistakes though, yet I´m better than last year and improving all the time.”
CS Santosh:”We finished the two days of Marathon stages today. They are always tough but this year it was good for me. It was fast and dangerous due to all the rains and rocks but I decided to take it easy in these zones. I started well today as well but lost a lot of positions straight up as I was struggling physically a bit. In the dunes I rode really well and that’s a positive for me going into the final stage tomorrow”
Both Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders are happy to report that the evolution of their 450cc Hero rally bike is working perfectly fine in all conditions. This will be another big take away from the team’s OiLibya outing i.e. the supreme confidence on their new machine going into the toughest test of them all, the Dakar Rally in January.
Provisional Results Stage 4 – Erg Lihoudi – Erfoud
1. Adrien van Beveren, FRA, Yamaha 1:55:20 hrs
2. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda +2:08 min
3. Pablo Quintanilla, CHI, Husqvarna +2:42
4. Antoine Meo, FRA, KTM +3:15
5. Lorenzo Santolino, SPA, Sherco TVS +3:59
7. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero +4:26
21. CS Santosh, IND, Hero +21:10
Provisional Overall standings after Stage 4 of 5
1. Pablo Quintanilla, CHI, Husqvarna, 8:05:35 hrs
2. Matthias Walkner, AUT, KTM +6:49 min
3. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda, +13:58
4. Ricky Brabec, USA, Honda +20:27
5. Antoine Meo, FRA, KTM, +22:19
6. Juan Pedrero, SPA, Sherco TVS +24:12
7. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero, +33:17
15. CS Santosh, IND, Hero +1:15:0