Hero MotoSports Team Rally started its campaign at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) 2023 with a top-10 finish in the prologue stage. Hero MotoSports is participating at the ADDC, which is the second round of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), with a two-rider line-up.
Following a historic Dakar Rally outing in January this year - two stage wins and a stage podium - the team is back in action, with great confidence and motivation to continue their high-performance streak.
At Abu Dhabi, the team is represented by factory riders Sebastian Buhler and Ross Branch. Competing in the Rally GP class, Ross and Buhler finished the Prologue stage in the 5th and 7th positions respectively, thereby achieving good start positions for the first stage on February 27.
After successfully completing the administrative checks and technical scrutiny on February 25th (Saturday), the competitors took to the start line for the Prologue on Sunday - a fast 6 km sprint in the desert, about 250 kms away from Abu Dhabi. This season of the ADDC has a brand-new route that gave the riders a first taste of the desert on the very first day - as opposed to the several years of starting at the iconic Yas Marina circuit before heading out to the desert.
The multiple Dakar stage winner Ross Branch is looking forward to some great exploits in Abu Dhabi. ADDC 2022 was the Botswanan's first appearance with the Hero MotoSports team, and he marked it by claiming a win in Stage 2 of the race. Buhler, who bagged his first Dakar stage podium in January 2023, has gained significant confidence on the Hero 450 Rally. Both riders' form is highly promising for the team in Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023 sees participation from top riders and teams, all aiming for the top spots in the championship. The first official stage of the ADDC 2023 is due on Monday, February 27th, and it will take the riders on a 242 km special in the sands of Arabia from Al Dhannah city to the bivouac in Qasr Al Sarab.
"We are here at the 2nd round of the World Rally Raid Championship 2023 and this time we are on a new route after many years. The riders have received their first taste of the Liwa desert, and tomorrow, we enter the big dunes right away, riding southeast. The next 5 days will be spent in the desert before heading back to Abu Dhabi. Ross and Sebastian are feeling good, fit, and eager to race. Unfortunately, JRod and Franco are recovering from injuries and are missing this race. However, the team is highly motivated to race here in Abu Dhabi after our solid Dakar 2023 performance, and we look forward to the first stage, " said Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally.
"The prologue was good, and I had a lot of fun! It was a short 6 km prologue, but a good start to the desert conditions that start tomorrow. It's good to be back on the bike and with the team, and I'm looking forward to a good week ahead in the desert," said Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Ross Branch.
"We enjoyed a first good stage here with a quite fast prologue today. It was not so easy because of the soft sand, but I'm happy with my result, and I think we are in a good position to start the main race, " said Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Sebastian Buhler. (ANI)