Hero Motosports’ Santosh positive about his Dakar chances

The Dakar Rally is one of the toughest off-road motorsport events in the world but India's C.S Santosh sounded positive about his chances.

CS Santosh dakar Hero Motosports

India's C.S. Santosh in action at the 2015 Dakar rally.   -  Getty Images

He has gone through some of the worst injuries and has suffered excruciating pain rallying the past couple of years. The deep scar on his neck said it all. But that does not matter for India’s C.S. Santosh. The country’s most-accomplished off-road rider wants to brave the odds and do well for his country and team (Hero MotoSports Team Rally) in the Dakar Rally next year.

The Dakar Rally is one of the toughest off-road motorsport events in the world but the two-time specialist from Bangalore sounded positive about his chances. “I have been working hard for sometime now and I am determined to finish this time around.”

“I have been blessed to have got the backing of Hero MotoSports. It’s going to be an entirely new experience as I am participating for a world-class factory team. It’s a fantastic opportunity and a big dream come true for me. The team has always been behind me and I get to learn a lot each day,” said Santosh.

The Bengaluru-based rider did well to finish a creditable 36th in his maiden Dakar outing in 2015 but technical issues forced him to retire midway through last year.

But for the ambitious rider and his team, it’s a fresh beginning. With rookie Joaquim Rodriques from Portugal as his team-mate, the Indian star wants to use the Oilibiya Rally in Morocco next month as the final test before heading to Dakar in January. “After a great first qualifier, we are now charged up for the Oilibiya Rally. Hero MotoSports has all the traits of a champion team and I am hopeful that we will put up a great show in Dakar,” said Santosh, who is absolutely proud to carry the country’s tri-colour to the most gruelling motorsport event.

Joaquim was pleased as well to be part of the Hero MotoSports team.

“Even though this is a new set-up, I am confident that the team has a bright future. It has the right ingredients to make a successful rally team,” he said.

Hero MotoSports enjoyed an impressive run at the Afriquia Merzouga Rally earlier this year, with Joaquim finishing among the top ten and Santosh sealing the 16th spot in the overall standings.

The team introduced its star attractions Santosh and Joaquim to the media at the Hero Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) here on Monday.

Hero MotoCorp’s Chief Technology Officer Markus Braunsperger was quite happy to introduce his boys. “It’s going to take a lot of blood and sweat for them and obviously we want them to do well in Dakar.”

However, he was not keen to put the pressure on the duo. “I would be happy if they complete the race without any injuries and technical issues as well.”

After the team introduction, both the riders created the Dakar experience with their commanding show in a specially-designed track at the Hero CIT campus. And, the media-men certainly got a sort of feel of the heat and the dirt of Dakar.