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Hero MotoSports Team's Joaquim 9th, Santosh 15th at Merzouga Rally

IANS logoIANS 08-05-2017

The day was marked by special stage of 188 kilometres for the riders to race in the Erg Chebbi region of Merzouga. Altogether 241 km of distance had to be covered including the 53 km liaison section. The stage tested the riders with big dunes, dry river bed crossings and a tough navigation sections.

Joaquim started strong but lost a bit of time in finding a tricky waypoint in the dunes. He made up some time in the second half of the stage but with a lot of dust making the visibility a challenge, he decided to be more cautious to bring the bike home safely.

Indian Santosh, who finished the first stage in 16th position, rode solid through the second stage and gained a position to finish in top 15.

Joaquim said: "Today the start was good and I was aggressive in the dunes to gain time, but around the 50 km mark I lost some time finding the secret waypoint.

"After the first checkpoint there was a lot of dust and it was hard to attack, so I preferred to keep it safe and bring the bike back home."

Santosh said: "First real stage of Merzouga, and I was a bit nervous to start with. My focus was to navigate well and not get lost because today's stage was quite a complex stage with a lot of navigation.

"I am happy that I was able to achieve that and gave myself a lot of confidence for tomorrow. All in all a very good day and I am looking forward to the upcoming stages."

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