Pictures courtesy Afriquia Merzouga Rally
First the scrutineering,
then kicking off the proceedings is
a prologue on Sunday (May 22, 2016) evening … the Afriquia
Merzouga Rally is back in the game. The Afriquia Merzouga Rally
has been revamped, renamed and is now part of the prestigious Dakar series. The
entry list features a number of high-profile names and over 80 riders
For India, it is a matter of
immense pride as Hero MotoSports Team Rally is ready for its debut on the
international rally scene. Competing with riders CS Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues
in the Afriquia Merzouga Rally in Morocco, the newly formed squad is eagerly
awaiting the start of the gruelling six-day event held in the south eastern
part of the Kingdom.
Following the prologue there
are more than 1,000 kilometres through the Moroccon desert in front of the
participants. Kicking off the proceedings is a prologue on Sunday evening, when
the riders are facing a short race against the clock to determine the starting
order for the opening stage on Monday morning.
For India´s motorcycle star CS
Santosh and Portugal´s rookie Joaquim "J-Rod" Rodrigues the rally
marks the start of a new era. Recently German rally specialists Speedbrain and
the world´s largest two-wheel manufacturer Hero MotoCorp Ltd have formed a
strategic partnership. The two riders are competing aboard an upgraded version
of the successful and well-proven Speedbrain 450 rally bike. The team is led by
Managing Director Wolfgang Fischer.
"This is a new experience
for me," says Rodrigues, adding that "I don´t know exactly what is in
front of me during the next days. I will try to learn the maximum I can. Thanks
to everyone at Hero MotoSports Team Rally for their support throughout the
preparation process. My goal is to finish the race and see where I´m at."
"I´m really happy to be
here at the Merzouga," adds CS Santosh. "My first encounter with the
bike has been exciting. I´m delighted to see we are progressing nicely,
obviously working towards the Dakar. It´s good to do some training with the
roadbook. I´m trying to have a good result, " he says.
The podium finishers and the
overall classification will be certain on Friday noon after the chequered flag
has fallen for the fifth and final stage.
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