Dakar Rally 2020: Hero MotoSports registers its best performance till date

Paulo Goncalves and Sebastian Buhler ended the day at fourth and 21 positions respectively while India’s CS Santosh improved his position to 44th from 50th.

Paulo Goncalves clawed back several places from his overnight position of 110th to jump to 63rd place in the overall rankings.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

It was a day to rejoice for Hero MotoSports Team Rally at the 2020 Dakar Rally, but it knows much more remains to be done.

Shrugging off the setback on Tuesday, its riders rode with tact, nous and determination on Wednesday to record its best performance yet overall. All of them got their act together in Stage 4 to provide much joy to their fans.

Paulo Goncalves and Sebastian Buhler ended the day at fourth and 21 positions respectively while India’s CS Santosh improved his position to 44th from 50th.

Goncalves was undeterred in his eagerness to take the lead stage early on, instead of riding at the back of the pack. Being in the top 12 in the previous stage, Goncalves exercised his right to choose his starting position and opted to start in the 26th position. If there were any doubts of him carrying the baggage of the previous stage, they were quickly dispelled by his intent and performance. He clawed back several places from his overnight position of 110th to jump to 63rd place in the overall rankings.

Buhler also impressed with his composure and consistency as he tackled another fast and tricky stage. He continues his upward climb in the overall rankings for the fourth straight day to break into the top 20.

Goncalves said his aim was to start cautiously and push later and it yielded dividends. “There was a lot of dust in the beginning and I decided to stay behind the riders in front of me to avoid any unnecessary risks. After refueling, I started pushing harder as the road opened to a wider desert. I had a little crash in the end which woke me up,” he said.

Santosh, who suffered a wrist injury on Sunday, said his hand was feeling much better. “I think I made one mistake which costed me a little but overall, my hand is feeling much better and I have regained strength in my hand,” he said.

The stage 4 of the rally moved from Neom towards the next bivouac of Al Ula, covering a total distance of 672 km including the special stage of 453 km.

The results (provisional)

Stage 4 placings: Hero MotoSports: Paulo Goncalves (Portugal) 4 - 4hr:27.02s; Sebastian Buhler (Germany) 21 - 4:39.59; CS Santosh (Ind)

44 - 5:26.13.

Overall placings: Hero MotoSports: Buhler 20, Santosh 41, Goncalves 63

 

(The writer is in Saudi Arabia on the invitation of Hero MotoCorp).