Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Spanish rider Oriol Mena helped Hero MotoSports Team Rally to make an impeccable start to their 2019 campaign as they claimed their first podium of the season.
With a third place finish Mena bagged his first ever podium in rally sport since his debut, just over a year back in 2017. The second rider Joaquim Rodrigues (JRod), was not too far behind as he finished just shy of a spot inside the top 3, at fourth position.
According to the information released by the Hero Motosports, as Stage 5 brought the curtains down on the 2019 edition of the Merzouga Rally, Oriol and JRod delivered solid and consistent performances to keep the Team in the hunt for the podium.
Mena was impressive as ever, near perfect in navigation and showing great temperament and understanding of the sport. JRod also pushed his performance levels higher with every stage.
From a team perspective, there are many positives to be taken from here, including the fact that the bikes performed really well throughout the rally, and many learning as well to continue improving the Team’s performance in every aspect of the sport.
Earlier in the day, the Erg Chebbi dunes played the theatre to the final battle for the standings at the Merzouga Rally 2019. In a short but certainly the most spectacular stage – The Grand Prix Dunes – the competitors made a final stretch of 49 kms of pure dunes to claim the final spoils for their efforts over the past week.
“It was a crazy stage today, typical of any last stage of the Merzouga Rally. I started really good leading the stage for a bit and riding well with the lead group. But a few kms into the stage I had to break hard to avoid the rider in front of me and had a minor crash” Mena was quoted as saying.
“Then on I lost my reach with the lead group but maintained by momentum to reach the finish line. I finished third so it’s my first podium and it is a very special feeling..”
Joaquim Rodrigues commented “It has been a tough week at the rally that ended today with the motocross style start. I started at the back today but very quickly moved into the top 3 and really enjoyed riding with those guys. I finished third today so it was a good finish to the rally for me. Overall I am happy with my performance in this rally as I am beginning to get back my pace. It’s a good feeling to know that I can still do it..”