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Santosh aims to be more ‘efficient’ in 2020 Dakar Rally

Ashish Mani Tiwari

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Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally along with Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders: Pan Africa Rally winner - Joaquim Rodrigues; Indian Ace rider - CS Santosh; Dakar Rookie of the Year 2017 - Oriol Mena and the newest addition, Former World Rally Champion - Paulo Goncalves
Hero MotoSports team rally gears up for its fourth consecutive appearance in the Dakar Rally 2020.

New Delhi: Ace Indian rider CS Santosh says he would strive to handle his bike with more care to help his team finish the 2020 Dakar Rally race.

Preserving bike efficiency will be key at the Dakar Rally, which will cover an overall distance close to 7,900 kms in Saudi Arabia. Team Hero Motorsports will be participating with four riders for the first time.

The squad includes former world rally champion Paulo Goncalves, pan-Africa rally winner Joaquim Rodrigues, Santosh and Oriol Mena.

“As it is going to a lot of kilometres, you need to be more efficient and more attentive towards handling the bike in vast expanse of the desert,” Santosh said during the unveiling of the team’s squad for Dakar 2020.

The Bengaluru-born said he has recovered from his crash last year, a ghastly scar on his neck serving a reminder of his ordeal.

The Dakar Rally is one of the toughest race of the year and its 42nd edition will be held in Saudi Arabia. It will start from Jeddah on January 5 and will conclude after 12 stages in Qiddiyah near the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

“This season of Dakar is a comeback for me after the crash last year. I am confident of the preparations and good momentum built through the year with strong performances, including the first-ever top 5 finish in an International Rally (Pan Africa Rally) for me,” he said.

The riders will race through a demanding terrain, including sand dunes and labyrinth tracks where high navigation skills will be essential.

Announcing the squad on Tuesday, Team Hero’s manager Wolfgang Fischer said, “The preparations for the team have been good and all riders are in good shape. The bikes have also been performing without any glitches.  It will be a new challenge for everyone. We are determined to compete well and improve our results this year.”

Speaking during the announcement, Vikram Kasbekar, executive director, Operations (Plants) and Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp, stated, ” Our participation in the Rally events is also proving us with valuable insights into developing our future line-up of products. Some of these learnings have already been incorporated into products such as XPulse 200 and its rally-kit.”

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