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Injured Oriol Mena to sit out Dakar 2020 for Hero MotoSports, replaced by Sebastian Buhler

Team OD  | Published: December 06, 2019, 12:01 PM IST

Hero MotoSports Team Rally has announced on social media that one of its star riders, Oriol Mena, will not be able to compete in Dakar 2020 owing to injuries, and will be replaced by German Sebastian Buhler.

Mena, who finished the Dakar in seventh and tenth in 2018 and 2019, had suffered injuries in testing prior to the Merzouga Rally this year, forcing him to retire. While he was on his way to recovery, it is reported that those injuries were aggravated recently in testing for Dakar 2020. With Mena not at 100 per cent, a decision was taken to have him recuperate in preparation for the rest of Hero MotoSports 2020 outings.

Oriol Mena after finishing the 2018 Dakar in seventh position overall

In his place will be 25-year old Sebastian Buhler, a privateer who finished his debut Dakar rally in 2019 in the 20th spot, making him the third placed Dakar rookie of the year. Buhler joins the Hero MotoSports roster alongside Joaquim Rodriguez, CS Santosh, and Paulo Goncalves, making him the youngest on the team.

Buhler will be riding the No 32 Hero MotoSports 450 Rally, a machine he's not unfamiliar with, having tested for the team previously, as sources tell us. This prior experience will be invaluable, considering the start of Dakar 2020 is less than a month away. Buhler's career highlights from 2019 include a third place overall at this year's Pan Africa Rally, and a victory at the Baja Portalegre.

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