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JRod, CS Santosh comeback with a bang to finish impressively at 2017 Merzouga Rally

13 May 2017, 11:23 IST
CS Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally Joaquim Rodrigues 2017 Merzouga Rally Day Stage 6 Final
Hero MotoSports Team Rally pose at the finish line after an impressive campaign at the gruelling Merzouga Rally

All’s well that ends well; this is one of the common phrases one hears in their daily life. And there’s nothing better to prove its authenticity than Hero Motosports Team Rally’s overall performance in this year’s Afriquia Merzouga Rally.

After enduring a tough time in the third stage of the Rally, both Hero riders made a great comeback to finish the race in respectable positions. While CS Santosh finished in an impressive 17thspot, the Portuguese daredevil ended the final stage at an incredible 2nd position, resulting in him finishing the rally in the Top 10.

Stage 5 Sandstorm makes things tough for the riders

Day 5 marked the second day of the highly complex Marathon stage of the Merzouga Rally. The Marathon Stage is the toughest part of the race as the second day of the stage consisted of big dunes, huge stone fields and an intricate navigation portion throughout.

Exposed under the sandstorm-adorned Moroccan ether, the riders had to stay on their own overnight on the first day of the marathon. This made it all the more difficult for them to traverse the 206-km long path on the second day of the marathon.

Without the presence of the mechanics and support crew, the riders took on the second day of the marathon stage with courage. For JRod, it was a fine day as he came very close to winning the stage, falling short by only a minute and seven seconds.

Hero MotoSports Joaquim Rodrigues 2017 Merzouga Rally Day Stage 5

JRod’s navigational skills, coupled with a calm head and gritty determination, were at their brilliant best as he finished the stage in the 4th place. Rodrigues had lost a lot of time in the day 3 of the Merzouga Rally, but his overall performance in the Marathon stage all but made up for it.

Despite coming back from an injury layoff, CS Santosh did not look rusty at all and did an admirable job. The Indian rider made a great start to the second day of the Marathon stage, but a destructive crash halted him in his tracks and he lost a lot of time because of it. He ended the stage in 36th position – a commendable recovery considering the setbacks he suffered in Stage 4.

And then came the 6th and final day of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally.


JRod excels in Final Stage

The final day was just one single loop of 50 kilometers that the riders had to get across in true Motorcross style. By the end of it, all the riders that managed to finish the race had crossed an astonishing distance of 1200 kilometers through the Moroccan sands.

The race was ended near the town of Erfoud, Morocco, and it was another successful endeavour for Hero Motosports as both their riders managed to complete the race in great fashion.

Hero MotoSports Joaquim Rodrigues 2017 Merzouga Rally Day Stage 6

On the final day, JRod continued his impressive form—in fact, he actually bettered his performance from the previous day and finished day 6 at number 2. This finish helped him end the Merzouga Rally at a highly impressive 9th.

Considering the fact that the Portuguese lost a lot of time in the third stage of the Rally, this was, in its own right, a comeback of epic proportions from JRod as he continues to improve with each passing year.

His Indian team-mate, CS Santosh, who only just returned after a 2 months layoff due to injury, finished 17th in a Rally that was filled with extremely complicated conditions for the riders to participate in. This, with all things taken under consideration, was an incredible feat for the Indian, which highlights his standing as the best Rally driver in the second most populated country in the world.

With this, the curtains have been drawn on the 2017 Merzouga Rally and Hero MotoSports should be a happy unit. They have completed the first half of the season with commendable performances in the Dakar Rally, the Desert Storm, the India Baja and now the Merzouga.

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