Paulo Goncalves prepares for his first Dakar in Hero colors

By Amit Anand

Jeddah, January 3 () Former rally world champion Paulo Goncalves will represent the Hero MotoSports Team Rally for the first time in the Dakar Rally starting Sunday.

This is the fourth consecutive appearance of Hero MotoSports Team Rally in the most exhausting and competitive rally raid in the world.

This is my first Dakar with Hero MotoSports and I am extremely excited, said Goncalves.

We have had a few last months full of events and my previous outings with the team have been very promising. I hope to support the growth of this young and impressive team.

With impressive results in the last three years, the team this year will be represented by the winner of the 2019 African Pan Rally, Joaquim Rodrigues, the ace of India CS Santosh and Sebastian Buhler, in addition to Goncalves.

Buhler replaces the Spanish Oriol Mena, who unfortunately aggravated an existing injury and ruled it out of the Dakar 2020.

It is a great opportunity for me to be part of the Hero MotoSports Rally in Dakar 2020. I have been preparing extensively and have already trained on the bicycle, so I think I am well prepared for this great challenge, Buhler said. .

I'm glad to be part of this team. It is sad that Oriol could not be on time for the Dakar.

Oriol finished the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Dakar with the best results and was the 'Rookie of the year' during the Dakar 2018.

To take their place, the team's management decided to cordon off Buhler, who has been training under the Hero MotoSports driver development program.

Buhler, 25, is from Germany and this will be his second attempt at the Dakar after an impressive result in the top 20 during his debut attempt in 2019, as an independent participant.

In a short six-year career, Buhler won four titles and won 45 podiums.

The 42nd edition of the Dakar Rally comprises 12 stages, which will conclude in Qiddiyah, near the country's capital, Riyadh.

Competitors will fight more than 5,000 km, covering a total distance of almost 7,900 km.

In addition to discovering the dunes of Saudi Arabia in the second half of the Rally, the first half will take the competitors through a maze of tracks where navigation skills will be essential.

The Hero MotoSports Team Rally is currently in its final stretch of preparations before the opening ceremony on January 4.

Wolfgang Fischer, team manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: We are excited to be in the Dakar Rally for the fourth consecutive year. However, it is a bittersweet moment for us, while we have the Champion, Paulo joining us this year in Dakar, Oriol will be lost since his recovery from injuries is not yet suitable for competitive races.

We are constantly working to form young talents and it is a delight to have the promising young driver, Sebastian joins the team as the fourth driver in the Rally. We have had the most successful 'Road to Dakar' campaign this year and we are fully prepared for the next Dakar.

CS Santosh, who will make his sixth consecutive appearance in Dakar, said he is looking for a good start.

I am very excited to return to compete in the Dakar and hope to do my best. We had a good period before this year's Dakar. The preparations have been thorough and we are extremely motivated for the Rally. said the 36-year-old.

Established in 2016, Hero MotoSports Team Rally has quickly become one of the best teams in international rally races, offering impressive performances worldwide. With two consecutive finishes of the Top 10 Dakar and an arrival rate of 100 percent for the machines, Hero MotoSports Team Rally has left its mark on the Dakar Rally. AA ATK ATK