In Hero MotoSports first rally of the season after Dakar, Oriol Mena clinched the third spot in the five day Merzouga Rally. This was the Spaniard’s first podium in rally sport after his debut in 2017. Joaquim Rodrigues too performed great and bagged a close fourth spot in the Moroccan rally.
Read about the first and second stage of the Merzouga Rally here
The third stage of the Merzouga Rally 2019
The third stage of the Merzouga Rally was a special stage of 229.59 km special, divided into 89km and 107km stretches. The first part was a bit rugged while the second one tested the riders’ navigational prowess. The marathon stage had the riders battling it out in the Moroccan desert, tending to their motorcycles and themselves without assistance.
The Hero MotoSports Rally team continued their consistent performance. Joaquim Rodrigues finished at the second spot while Mena settled for third. This brought JRod to the second spot and Mena at the third in the overall standings.
Hero MotoSport Team Rally’s fourth stage of the Merzouga Rally
The penultimate stage of the rally didn’t yield good results for the team. They faced issues while navigating through the stage. Both the riders lost time initially while finding their way through the stage. Though, with each other’s help, the riders managed to get on to the right path, their moment of glory was short-lived. JRod, while traversing through a tricky section, broke his GPS, forcing him to make frequent stops fix it. This cost him a lot of time.
The stage ended with Mena at the sixth spot and JRod at 11th. Though it wasn’t the team’s best day, Mena retained his third spot in the provisional overall standings while JRod dropped down to fourth.
The toughest stages of the rally were done and now the competitors’ goal was to make it to the finish line in the last stage of the rally without the unwarranted issues.
The final challenge of the Grand Prix Dunes
The spectacular and challenging stage at the Erg Chebbi Dunes, dubbed as the Grand Prix Dunes had the riders battle it out in the final stage of 49km to claim the top spot at the Merzouga Rally. The Hero MotoSports riders put out a stellar performance, giving the team a podium finish in the Moroccan Rally.
Mena’s navigational skills and temperament gave the Spaniard a seventh spot in the rally. JRod gave his best performance and ended the stage at the third spot in the provisional stage rankings.
1. Adrian Van Beveren, Yamaha Racing, 15h 28m 02s
2. Ross Branch, BAS Dakar Team, +24m 37s
3. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +33m 01s
4. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports, +34m 21s
5. Alessandro Botturi, Africa Dream Racing, +46m 41s