Dakar Rally 2017
As an admirer of motorsport, there is no better way to start off one’s year than the grueling challenge of the Dakar Rally. Like the start of every year, the first week of 2017 kicks off the 38th edition of the Dakar, which would take riders and drivers aboard motorcycles, cars, SUVs and trucks through 12 stages via Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina covering almost 9,000km. Like each year that has come before this one, every team has brought forth their top guns along with their best-performing machines to take up the challenge. Something new this year is the armed contingent that is seen with this force from India, where two teams TVS Racing and Hero MotoCorp are bringing forth their best riders with machinery that is developed with the help of international partners.
Hero MotoCorp has been exposed to racing before; however, it is their first time in Dakar where they have collaborated with a German off-road team – Speedbrain GmbH. Taking up the challenge for Hero MotoCorp would be Indian rider CS Santosh and Portuguese supercross rider Joaquim Rodrigues, who have both performed at Dakar Rally before (CS Santosh placing 36th in 2015 Dakar Rally). Hero MotoCorp is confident and a step ahead of its immediate rival – Sherco-TVS as CS Santosh would be participating in the Dakar Rally for the third consecutive year this time.
Sherco-TVS have been a part of the Dakar Rally from 2015. This year, Aravind KP who has won 15 national championships in motocross and dirt track rallies back at home would be participating along with Joan Pedrero, a Spanish champion and the Frenchman Adrien Metge for Sherco-TVS. Aravind KP has been a part of TVS racing for almost a decade; he is well versed with the tradition of racing followed by the company that is based in the southern part of India.
Dakar for India
It is a great sight to see Indian automobile manufacturers to collaborate with foreign companies and participate in international motorsport events. On the other side, the Indian motorsport scenario is not in good shape, as it is not promoted as heavily like other sport events. However, seeing TVS and Hero making the first move to showcase Indian talent on foreign soil is in itself a huge accomplishment. Moreover, Dakar Rally this year has 318 vehicles which include 144 motorcycles, 87 cars, 50 trucks, 37 quads and 10 UTVs, further enabling Hero and TVS to prove its mettle.
With CS Santosh and Aravind KP in Dakar Rally 2017, India has finally made its presence felt in the world of International Rallying. The first stage- Asuncion-Resistencia (454kms) begun yesterday where Sherco TVS rider – Joan Pedrero finished first in the bike section followed by Aravind KP finishing 61st, and Adrien Metge finishing 124th. Hero MotoCorp completed the first stage with Joaquim Rodrigues finishing 16th and CS Santosh coming 47th.