Top 10 finish for Hero MotoSports in 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

    The Indian team also managed to win a stage, while Audi made history by winning with the electrified RS Q e-tron.

    Published On Mar 11, 2022 03:21:00 PM


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    Fresh off the 2022 Dakar Rally, Round 2 of the newly formed World Rally-Raid Championship served up even more sand and dunes in the form of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Representing India, Hero MotoSports had two of its riders finish in the overall top 10 and even bagged a stage win.

    • Rodrigues and Caimi finish in overall top 10
    • Audi RS Q e-tron first electrified car to win a desert rally
    • Sunderland wins in bikes category

    Branch wins Stage 2 for Hero MotoSports

    Hero MotoSports’ newest recruit Ross Branch had to face the challenge of getting to grips with Hero 450 Rally bike on what was his first outing with the team. It was a difficult start to the rally as he crashed on the opening stage while competing for a top three finish.

    But he returned the next day and aced what was the longest stage in this edition to hand the team a stage win. Thereafter, he adopted a more calculated approach, taking risks and riding fast only where he was fully confident of the terrain. His recovery ride took him to 13th overall in the Rally GP class.

    Rodrigues and Caimi in the top 10

    Rodrigues once again led the charge for the team, finishing sixth overall, just 10 minutes off the lead. He ran into a few obstacles, notably on Stage 5, where he suffered a small crash. But overall, the Portuguese rider believes he was able to extract “good performance from the bike and myself”.

    Franco Caimi returned to action after sitting out Dakar 2022 due to a training injury. While he’s still recovering, he displayed impressive consistency in the harsh desert conditions to finish eighth overall in the Rally GP class.

    Summing up the team’s performance, Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, said, “As is the usual case with Abu Dhabi, it was a tough week for us. ADDC is the hardest race in 100 percent sand conditions and is always a proving ground for man and machine. Continuing our good track record from the Dakar, we’ve finished the race without any technical issues, and all three riders are back with us safe – and I couldn’t be happier.”

    “In the last edition of ADDC, JRod [Rodrigues] won third place with a 34-minute gap from the winner. In this edition, he missed the podium by just six minutes, and his gap from the winner is just 10 minutes after six days of racing! It just goes on to say how competitive Rally GP has become, but I’m also proud that with each race, our performance is improving by several notches,” he added.

    Peterhansel and Sunderland win

    Stephane Peterhansel created history by becoming the first-ever driver to win a cross country rally raid in an electrified car, with the Audi RS Q e-tron. The electric prototype uses three electric motors, with a DTM-sourced petrol engine serving as a power source to charge the batteries. This is Peterhansel’s eighth Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge victory.

    After winning Dakar 2022, Sam Sunderland continued his winning streak. The GasGas rider defeated the Honda duo of Ricky Brabec and Pablo Quintanilla. Honda's double podium finish does hand the team the overall lead with a total of 83 points.


    Also see:

    2021 INRC: Aditya Thakur wins Rally of Coimbatore

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