Dakar 2018: Hero MotoSports' Oriol Mena stuns with seventh overall on debut
After 14 long days of rallying, the riders of the Hero MotoSports Team Rally outfit crossed the finish like at the 2018 Dakar Rally in Cordoba. It was an emotional affair for the team, especially since this was only their second outing at the gruelling rally raid, and they managed to break into the top 10 overall. The team's rookie rider, Spaniard Oriol Mena who is a former Junior World Enduro Champion, ended the 14th stage of the rally, in Cordoba, in sixth position. This meant that he ended the rally in seventh place overall, a terrific debut at the Dakar. The finishing position also earned him the best rookie trophy at the rally.
Oriol Mena after finishing the 2018 Dakar in seventh position overall
Meanwhile, CS Santosh managed to clinch his best-ever finishing position at the Dakar Rally. The Indian rider ended Stage 14 in 32nd position, which meant he was 34th overall at the end of the event. Given the fact that the stages this year were so very difficult, it was a terrific performance from Santosh too.
Career-best finishing position at the Dakar for CS Santosh who ended the rally 34th overall
Speaking after the event, Wolfgang Fischer, team manager of Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, "Finishing this Dakar at Cordoba is really the toughest experience in our Dakar years so far. Starting with the accident of Joaquim Rodrigues, getting into the tough stages at Peru, seeing all our guys overcoming difficulties with bravery, Mena improving with every stage and learning the Dakar mode fast, seeing CS and Mena making their way through the finish, is just a privilege. Santosh getting his best ever result in which was the toughest Dakar is an achievement we are really proud of. For Oriol Mena, it was a big accomplishment to finish in the top 10. He kept going up the rankings while maintaining his position in top 10 in the last few stages gives a lot of confidence for the team's future."
The Hero MotoSports Team Rally outfit celebrating their Dakar 2018 success
Mena, understandably, was pleased with his performance. "I am really happy with my results. I enjoyed the last stage a lot and it felt as if these 120 kms were longer than my life. I am at the finish line and also won in the rookie class so it's a real good result and what can I say, dreams do come true," the Spaniard gushed.
CS Santosh said after crossing the finish line, "It was a tough Dakar this year for sure, every day you had to bow down to the stages. I had lots of ups and downs, some high points in the beginning, then some lows as well. I think it was everything that you would envision a Dakar to be. Lot of stages we off-piste but much difficult from before. I am happy to make it to the finish line of another Dakar. My best Dakar so far so I am really happy to be going home with that."
Provisional Stage 14 Classifications
1. Kevin Benavides, Monster Energy Honda, Honda, 01hr 26m 41s
2. Toby Price, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, +54s
3. Antoine Meo, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, +02m 49s
4. Daniel Carreras Oliveras, Himoinsa Racing, KTM, +03m 25s
5. Johnny Aubert, Gas Gas Racing, Gas Gas Rally Replica, +04m 19s
6. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +05m 01s
7. Gerard Guell Farres, Himoinsa Racing, KTM, +05m 23s
8. Walkner Matthias, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, +05m 38s
9. Ignacio Jose Florimo Cornejo, Monster Energy Honda, Honda, +07m 57s
10. Juan Garcia Pedrero, Sherco TVS Rally Factory, Sherco TVS, +10m 53s
32. C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +18m 40s
Overall Provisional Classifications after Stage 14
1. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, 43h 06m 01s
2. Kevin Benavides, Monster Energy Honda, Honda, +16m 53s
3. Toby Price, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, +23m 01s
4. Antoine Meo, RedBull KTM Racing, KTM, +47m 28s
5. Gerard Guell Farres, Himoinsa Racing, KTM, +01h 01m 04s
6. Johnny Aubert, Gas Gas Racing, Gas Gas Rally Replica, +01h 53m 53s
7. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +02h 22m 52s
8. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna Factory Team, Husqvarna, +02h 24m 05s
9. Daniel Carreras Oliveras, Himoinsa Racing, KTM, +02h 37m 20s
10. Ignacio Jose Florimo Cornejo, Monster Energy Honda, Honda, +02h 42m 36s
35. C.S. Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +11h 29m 31s