Indian riders C.S. Santosh (Hero MotoSports Team) and K.P. Aravind (Sherco TVS) began their campaign in the 2019 Dakar Rally with a ceremonial flag off at Lima.
The current edition of Dakar Rally marks the third year of participation for Hero MotoSports Team Rally, which consists of three riders — India’s C S Santosh, Oriol Mena and Joaquim Rodrigues.
The three riders rolled off the ceremonial podium, in front of thousands of cheering fans assembled at the beautiful seaside district of Magdalena Del Mar to give a warm send off to the participants.
For Sherco TVS, this is the fifth consecutive participation of the team in the iconic rally. This year, the team boasts of 4 riders — Michael Metge (France), Adrien Metge (France), Aravind KP (India) and Lorenzo Santolino (Spain).
The first stage of Dakar Rally will take the rally from Lima to Pisco for a short warm up special of 84kms.
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The Dakar 2019 will see teams traverse a distance of 5000 kilometers across 10 stages with special stages of 3000 kilometers. The Rally route, unlike the previous one comprises of a substantial section of sand dunes, will test the navigational skills, endurance and techniques of the riders.
The Hero team is confident and upbeat about its prospects at the Dakar, riding on the back of some strong performances, intense training sessions and a much-improved Hero 450 RR bike since the Dakar last year.
Another big positive for the team is the comeback of Rodrigues, who has undergone intensive rehabilitation after his injury at the Dakar last year.
“This Dakar, which is set in just one country and includes 70% of the riding in the dunes, is definitely going to be very tough on the body and the bike,” said Santosh, who is competing in the gruelling rally for the fifth time here.
“However, I am extremely optimistic about our performance at the Dakar this year. There is a positive energy in the entire team and we can feel it here. The preparation has been good and the motivational levels are high. I can’t wait for the first stage to get started.”
The Sherco TVS team is riding on the new Dakar-spec RTR 450 Rally motorcycle. The motorcycle boasts of an improved cooling system and an enhanced top speed of 180 kmph.
The motorcycle is equipped with specially designed pistons and a new diaphragm spring clutch and higher capacity fuel tank. The Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team has trained in Morocco, Spain and France in the international race calendar.