Hero Team’s Mena 11th, Santosh 20th in Stage 1 of Merzouga Rally

Merzourga (Morocco), April 17 (IANS) Hero MotoSports Team Rally’s Oriol Mena and C.S. Santosh finished 11th and 20th respectively after the first stage in the Merzouga Rally in southeastern Morocco.

Mena, the first of the two riders to start the stage on Monday, rode solid from the beginning, tackling the tricky navigation to finish at 11th position with a timing of three hours, 44 minutes and 13 seconds.

Stage 1 comprised of just over 200 kms of two loops. The first part of the stage tested the riders with relatively complicated navigation leading onto the second loop that offered dunes, sand and water zones.

Mena said: “First part of the stage had really difficult navigation. I started the stage at the 3rd position with no tracks to follow, so I had to put all my focus in navigating. At one point, I lost a few minutes in finding the correct way but I managed to collect all the waypoints.

“The second part of the stage was relatively easy except for one point in the river where it was difficult to find the way. It’s just the first day and I am feeling good, the bike is performing well, so let’s see how it goes in the coming days.”

Santosh also made a cautious and steady start to his Merzouga campaign and brought the bike home safely, finishing 20th place in the stage with a timing of four hours, 14 minutes and 50 seconds.

Santosh said: “First stage was a bit difficult for me as the two loops were same for bikes and the Side-by-Side vehicles. I started behind the SSVs so I had to be careful with the navigation as there were a lot of tracks everywhere.

Joan Barreda Boat of Honda Racing topped the first day action with a timing of three hours, 15 minutes and 58 seconds.

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