NEOM, SAUDI ARABIA
Hero MotoSports Team Rally builds up momentum in Stage 2.
Stage 2 of the Dakar Rally took the competitors from Al Wajh to Neom for a special stage of 367 kms. It was a trial for the competitors with rocky terrains and a lot of dust. Paulo Goncalves rode steadily today with an aim to get his bike to the finish without issues, finishing 12th in the stage, 14th overall.
Buhler also brought home a solid stage, fighting through the dust and technical rocky sections to finish the stage 21st and 25th overall. Santosh, nursing a hand injury from yesterday’s crash had to bear the brunt of the rocky sections, impacting his ability to ride fast today. Battling through the pain with his impaired ability to hold the bike, he managed a gritty 53rd place finish in the stage rankings and 48th place in the overall rankings.
Joaquim Rodrigues re-started today at the end of the entire starting line. As a result, he rode in the dust for the entire stage, but managed to bring the bike home in 48th position. His overall results will not be counted under the wild card regulations.
“THE STAGE WAS VERY ROCKY BUT ALSO FAST.” -SEBASTIAN BUHLER
In Stage 3 scheduled for tomorrow, the riders will do one more loop around the city of Neom covering 404 kms as a part of the special stage, including the highest section of the Dakar 2020 at an altitude of 1400m.
We finished Stage 2 of the rally today. It was also the super marathon stage for the elite riders and I arrived without any bike issue so we are in a good shape to finish the second part of the super marathon tomorrow. I tried to ride safe today for this marathon stage but I have a good feeling with the bike so we are in a good place at the moment. I will try to increase my pace day by day without making mistakes to get the team to a good finish.
Well, as expected, it was a really tough day for me, starting last and then riding behind in everyone’s dust for 367 kms was horrible. I am happy to make it to the finish line. The team is doing well and that’s what counts. 10 more days to go!
It was a really difficult day for me with all this pain in my hand from yesterday’s crash. The stage was really rocky and all the impact was coming onto my hand, making it really difficult to hold the bike. I will get this checked now and hopefully will have a better stage tomorrow.
It was a very good stage for me. The stage was very rocky but also fast. There was a lot of dust today, making it more difficult to ride. I started with another rider and it’s very difficult to overtake in dust but I hope to start a bit in the front in the coming stages so that I can ride out this dust and gain some time.
PROVISIONAL STANDINGS - STAGE 2
|01||Ross Branch||Bas Dakar KTM Racing Team||03h 39m 10s|
|02||Sam Sunderland||RedBull KTM Racing||+01m 24s|
|12||Paulo Goncalves||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+09m 32s|
|21||Sebastian Buhler||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+20m 03s|
|48||Joaquim Rodrigues||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+55m10s|
|53||CS Santosh||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+01h 20m 34s|
OVERALL STANDINGS - STAGE 2
|01||Sam Sunderland||RedBull KTM Racing||07h 05m 22s|
|02||Pablo Quintanilla||Rockstar Energy Husqvarna||+01m 18s|
|14||Paulo Goncalves||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+13m 10s|
|25||Sebastian Buhler||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+48m 37s|
|48||CS Santosh||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+01h 57m 52s|