TEAM HERO MOTOSPORTS POWER THROUGH STAGE 4 OF THE SONORA RALLY 2023
RIDER DUO MAINTAIN OVERALL TOP-10 POSITIONS
Competing in the premier Rally GP class, Hero MotoSports riders Ross Branch and Sebastian Buhler finished the 4th and penultimate Stage of Sonora Rally in the 7th and 11th positions respectively.
Clocking almost 500 kms on the saddle, the competitors found the second loop around Puerto Peñasco difficult, exhausting, and at times, confusing. The day started off with some fast riding, which soon shifted gears to careful riding through stretches of broken pistes. Around four portions of today’s route were common with that of yesterday, and the terrain was completely broken from the cars that raced on the route in Stage 3 – adding a lot more danger to the bike competitors today. The penultimate stage in Mexico also introduced more dunes, and maintained the essence of Dakar with its varied terrains, extreme heat, and complicated navigation.
Due to a mistake in today’s road book, several competitors missed the route at around 76 kms, and ended up losing time trying to find their way back. They were able to re-join the rally route only by about 93 kms. FIM officials analyzed the issue, and proposed a solution that finally shuffled the results within the top order.
Stage 4 was a better day for Ross Branch. Except for the mishap around the road book error, he found himself enjoying the Stage on his Hero 450 Rally which performed at its peak today. His consistent move up the ladder through the Rally finds him a spot in the overall top-10 of the Rally GP class at the 7th place.
Sebastian Buhler had a tough day battling the broken terrains of today’s route, and lost some time in the latter half of the Stage. However, his consistent improvements so far in the Rally finds him an overall 10th place in the Rally GP class.
With just one stage left in the race, the competitors will now focus on going all in on a final dash to improve their positions. Four days of adventure in an unknown terrain has been one of great learning for the W2RC competitors, and the progress they’ve made is commendable.
Stage 5, the finale, will resume a northwest course towards San Luis Río Colorado, the "home" of the Sonora Rally – a vibrant city on the border with Arizona, USA. The journey to the border will be a 398 km ride, of which only 139 will be timed. The 9th edition of Sonora Rally will close with a podium ceremony in the border city.
“Stage 4 today started with very fast pistes, but soon it went on to become a really hard stage with a lot of broken pistes. We rode in some parts from yesterday, where the cars had broken the terrain a lot; and riding through fesh fesh always has some surprises to give. So I'm glad to be back in one piece, happy with my result, and looking forward to tomorrow.”
“Today was a really good day - the bike was incredible, and the terrain was amazing - riding in the Mexican desert is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there was a small issue with the road book from the organizers, and we had to turn around and try and find our way. It was a bit difficult, but it is what it is, and I'm sure they will take care of fixing it. I’m looking forward to the last stage tomorrow.”
STAGE 4 - Rally GP Class
|1||Toby Price||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||2h 33m 21s|
|2||Tosha Schareina||Honda Team||+ 0m 23s|
|3||Luciano Benavides||Husqvarna Factory Racing||+ 0m 52s|
|7||Ross Branch||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+ 4m 38s|
|11||Sebastian Buhler||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+ 7m 56s|
OVERALL RANKINGS AFTER
STAGE 4 - Rally GP Class
|1||Daniel Sanders||Red Bull Gas Gas Factory Racing||9h 47m 08s|
|2||Tosha Schareina||Honda Team||+ 5m 42s|
|3||Luciano Benavides||Husqvarna Factory Racing||+ 14m 23s|
|7||Ross Branch||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+ 23m 58s|
|10||Sebastian Buhler||Hero MotoSports Team Rally||+ 32m 43s|