Hero MotoSport riders Joaquim Rodrigues and Sebastian Buhler broke into top 20 at the end of Stage 2, while CS Santosh progressed to finish 36th overall. Harith Noah and Ashish Raorane faired through the sandy terrain and finished 33th and 86th respectively.
Ashish Raorane competes in the Malle Moto category and is placed 24th in the class
Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders made significant progress at the end of Stage 2 of the 2021 Dakar Rally. Rider Joaquim Rodrigues led the squad and finished the stage in 12th place, followed by Sebastian Buhler in 14th place, with CS Santosh moving up to 36th. Meanwhile, privateer Harith Noah did well to finish the stage in 32nd place followed by Ashish Raorane moving up to 24th in the Malle Moto class and 82nd (overall) at the end of the day. Stage 2 of the rally saw the riders traverse the sandy dunes between Bisha and Wadi Ad-Dawasir for a total of 658 km, which comprised 457 km of the special section.
Also Read: Dakar Rally 2021: Joaquim Rodrigues Leads Hero’s Pack, Harith Noah & Ashish Raorane Struggle In Stage 1
After playing safe during Stage 1, Rodrigues pushed harder through Stage 2 and managed to breach in the top 20 and is now placed 17th in the overall rankings. Buhler too showed an improvement in pace and moved up to 24th overall. Santosh showed growth in confidence at the end of Stage 2 and finished 36th in the overall standings.
For Noah, a navigation mistake cost him some time, while facing a small technical issue on his Sherco RTR 450 rally bike. The rider though is yet to figure out what the issue is with the bike. He is now placed 31st in the overall standings.
For Raorane, who competes in the Malle Moto class, Stage 2 on the KTM 450 RR struggled for the first 30-40 km but finally found his footing as he progressed. The stage was nearly 82 per cent with the rest dunes and was quite long too. Interestingly, Ashish not only managed to make it to the bivouac before sundown but did so while helping KTM Factory Racing rider Matthias Walkner with a spare clutch disc along the way. The incident certainly is a reminder of what the rally spirit is all about.
Also Read: Dakar Rally 2021: Indian Riders CS Santosh, Harith Noah & Ashish Raorane Off To A Good Start In Prologue Stage
Speaking on his performance, Joaquim Rodrigues said, “Today was a completely different stage from yesterday. It was much faster with really soft sands and a lot of open ground. On one dune, my bike got stuck and the sand was so soft that it got buried almost up to the handlebar. So, I lost some time there trying to get out of that but otherwise, I felt a lot better today and kind of started to get into my rhythm again. I was able to finish the stage with no problems with the bike so it was definitely a much better day for me.”
CS Santosh said, “I started the stage with a lot of motivation today. It was a fast stage and the new bike started feeling really good and safe, so I am really happy with that. I am slowly building my confidence and if I can continue like this for the rest of the stages, I think I will be in a really good position by the time the rally finishes. So, today was a good start in the right direction for me.”
Sebastian Buhler said, “It was a very nice stage with a little bit of everything – from soft dunes to sandy tracks, open tracks and even some rocks. Our new bike worked very well in these conditions so I was able to ring in a decent pace and rhythm today.”
For Stage 3, the competitors will stay in Wadi Ad-Dawasir to do a 629 km loop that will include a 403 km special section.
Provisional Rankings – Stage 2
1. Joan Barreda Bort Monster Energy Honda Team 04h17m56s
2. Ricky Brabec Monster Energy Honda Team +03m55s
3. Pablo Quintanilla Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +06m02s
12. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +18m08s
14. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +20m47s
33. Harith Noah Privateer +4h56s05s
36. C S Santosh Hero MotoSports Team Rally +44m21s
82. Ashish Raorane Privateer +07h38m11s
Provisional Overall Rankings at the end of Stage 2
1. Joan Barreda Bort Monster Energy Honda Team 08h15m38s
2. Ricky Brabec Monster Energy Honda Team +06m23s
3. Ross Branch Monster Energy Yamaha Team +06m37s
17. Joaquim Rodrigues Hero MotoSports Team Rally +20m 21s
24. Sebastian Buhler Hero MotoSports Team Rally +36m00s
33. Harith Noah Privateer +09h19m09s
36. C S Santosh Hero MotoSports Team Rally +01h22m47s
86. Ashish Raorane Privateer +14h23m28s
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