Rally rookie "J-Rod"
Rodrigues delivered a steady stage, finishing the day in tenth position for Hero
MotoSports in Afriquia Merzouga Rally 2016, Stage 1. CS Santosh, his teammate, finished
17th. The Afriquia Merzouga Rally is no walk in the park. That´s
what the riders had to acknowledge on the first real day of racing in the
Moroccon desert. As temperatures soared above 40 degrees celsius the route
through the big dunes of Merzouga and Erg Chebbi provided plenty of tricky
navigation and sandy challenges.
Rodrigues, the Portuguese
stayed out of trouble and was quite satisfied with his result. "Today was
my first rally stage", he said. "I didn´t make too many mistakes,
just one at a checkpoint. It is really difficult with the navigation and it is
pretty hot out here. I´m happy to finish the way I did, it was a good
experience. Tomorrow I will try to avoid mistakes and then hopefully make
progress throughout the week," he said in a press statement.
Following his result in the previous day’s prologue,
CS Santosh was the first rider to enter the special test. The popular Indian
had some navigational issues, but kept calm and never lost his focus.
"I was a bit nervous
opening the track. But the team told me to go ahead and be confident. I had a
good feeling, then I started to make some small mistakes. I finally found
someone who handled the navigation very well, that helped me and I brought it
home. The rally is very, very tough. It deserves to be part of the Dakar
series. You don´t need a crystal ball to see that the next four days will be
very challenging, " he added.
Tuesday´s stage two will see
the special test split into two parts. The race will move to the west of
Merzouga and there will be some mountainous sections to master.
Preliminary Results Stage 1
1. Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM
2. Helder Rodrigues, POR,
Yamaha +2:04 min
3. Adrien van Beveren, FRA,
4. Ricky Brabec, USA, Honda
5. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda
10. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR,
17. CS Santosh, IND, Hero
Preliminary Overall standings
1. Svitko 2:52:07 hrs
2. Helder Rodrigues +2:04 min
3. van Beveren +4:06
4. Brabec +4:12
5. Benavides +4:33
11. Rodrigues +23:38
23. CS Santosh +56:44
Source: Hero MotoSports
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