Hero MotoSports Team Rally to compete India BAJA 2017 without injured CS Santosh – Santosh is still recovering from injuries sustained during Dakar Rally. Joaquim Rodrigues to lead the team.
#59 Santosh Chunchunguppe Shivashankar, better known as CS Santosh for the KTM Rally Factory Team competes during Stage 12 on day 13 of the Dakar Rally between Termas de Rio Hondo and Rosario on January 16, 2015 near Cordoba, Argentina. (Getty Images – Dean Mouhtaropoulos)
Ace Indian rider C S Santosh, who hurt his spine at the Desert Storm rally, will miss the upcoming 'India BAJA' as his team Hero MotoSports Team Rally has decided to give him more recovery time.
Santosh had suffered a nasty crash at the Desert Storm in February and has been advised more rest before he starts riding again. The team will be led by ace Portuguese rider Joaquim Rodrigues.
"I am healing well and working towards getting fit for the Merzouga Rally in May. It is really disappointing to sit this one out, but I am confident that with JRod leading Hero MotoSports Team Rally, we will achieve a good result here," Santosh said.
Hero MotoSports Team Rally, which made its debut at the prestigious Dakar Rally, will compete on the Indian soil for the second time after its podium finish at Desert Storm.
India BAJA will be held from April 7-9 in the expansive Thar Desert of Jaisalmer in the state of Rajasthan. This edition of India BAJA is a part of the Dakar Challenge events which means that the winner of India BAJA gets a free entry into Merzouga Rally in Morocco in the month of May and also an opportunity to participate in Dakar 2018.
Rodrigues said, "I am really excited to start the new season and working with the Hero MotoSports Team Rally to get ready for the India BAJA and the Merzouga Rally. It is really cool to start working again with the team and kick off our season leading up to the Dakar 2018."
Dr. Markus Braunsperger, Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., said, "JRod will bring in international flavour to the Rally and also generate interest among the Indian fans.
It is unfortunate for the team that Santosh will not be able to participate due to his injury. However, keeping in mind rider's safety and the long-term interest of the team, resting Santosh for India BAJA is the right call."