Both Indian teams – Hero MotoSports Team Rally and Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team – have kicked off the 2019 Afriquia Merzouga Rally on a high note, with Michael Metge, Abdul Wahid Tanveer and Joaquim Rodrigues all finishing Stage 1 in the top five in their respective categories.
The first stage of the rally – comprising sand dunes and rocky terrain with the added challenge of tricky navigation – saw the riders traverse 210km. Competing in the 450cc category for Sherco TVS, Metge put in a strong performance to complete the stage in 3rd place. Indian rider Aravind KP encountered an issue with his bike’s odometer, further complicating navigation. He ultimately finished the stage in 31st place.
Abdul Wahid Tanveer also enjoyed a successful first stage for Sherco TVS in the Enduro category, with a third-place finish.
Over at Hero MotoSports, both Rodrigues and Oriol Mena clinched strong results despite losing some time owing to navigation errors. Rodrigues was the top performer for the team, completed Stage 1 in 4th place, while Mena finished in 7th place.
The Merzouga Rally kicks off both teams’ preparation for next year’s Dakar Rally, offering an ideal training ground for the riders. This year’s event will cover 1,200km in total across five days, including 750km on special stages.
Results after Stage 1
3. Michael Metge
31. Aravind KP
3. Abdul Wahid Tanveer (Enduro category)
4. Joaquim Rodrigues
7. Oriol Mena