C. S. Santosh gets new bike for Dakar Rally

India's leading rider C. S. Santosh will be better prepared to perform at the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally with a new bike, the Hero RR 450, which has been developed by Hero MotoSports.

C. S. Santosh with Dr. Markus Braunsperger, Chief Technology Officer and head of Hero Motosports, in Delhi on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

The country’s leading rider C. S. Santosh and Hero MotoSports team would be better prepared to face the biggest rally-raid in the world, the 40th edition of the Dakar, which will start from Peru on January 6 and travel through Bolivia before concluding in Argentina in January 20.

While Hero MotoSports has strengthened its team by adding Spaniard Oriol Mena Valderacos, to Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues, it has also structured a new bike Hero RR 450, to face the rigours of the 9000-kilometre stretch, which will have 14 stages, including seven 100% dunes/off-piste, one marathon stage for all categories and one marathon stage for bikes and quads only.

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"Things have changed a lot for me as I go into the Dakar again. This is my second year with the team and it has been a great journey so far," said Santosh on Thursday, at the
launch in the Capital. "This year I have put in a lot of efforts, be it in the gym or training on my cycle and motorcycle. We have had a really good training program this year and I am happy to take this to the Dakar," he added.

"We are excited and prepared for Dakar 2018. The team is stronger, both in terms of men and machine. We are focused on improving our performance and believe that we have the right tools to do it," said Dr. Markus Braunsperger, the Chief Technology officer and head of Hero MotoSports.

The bike had been tested in the OiLibya rally in Morocco in October, which should provide the confidence for the riders as they set out for the toughest challenge. "The riders have been under intense training sessions, to improve their mental and physical fitness since their Dakar 2017 performance. They had a good run on the new bike at OiLibya and are now more confident on it," said the team manager, Wolfgang Fischer.

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"I am very happy with the new bike that we raced with at the OiLibya rally. The new bike is light, agile and makes going fast, safe. This Dakar, I will aim to make each and every day count. Ultimately, it is about enjoying the process and arriving at the finish line," said

The team had an impressive debut in Dakar this season, as the only manufacturer team with 100% arrivals. It had also won Baja India and had a podium finish in the Desert Storm.

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