Oriol Mena and Joaquim Rodrigues, members of the Hero MotoSports Team Rally continued their strong show at the ongoing 2019 Merzouga Rally. Mena finished the penultimate stage in sixth position while JRod closed the stage in 11th position. With just one more stage to go, Mena retains his place in the third place while JRod stands at fourth place in the provisional overall rankings. The riders lost some time initially in trying to find the right way into the stage but managed to get on to the right path with each other's help. Later JRod broke his GPS while negotiating a tricky downhill section, forcing him to stop a few times to fix it, losing more time in the process. Even with these difficulties the duo made good time to finish the stage reasonably well.
The second part of the marathon stage was another long day, with 219 km special to be run under the sun, before the riders could get back to the comforts of the Rally bivouac at Xaluca Hotel, and get reunited with their assistance teams. This stage was in terms of the difficulties and the dunes to be tackled. In a way, the results of today's stage will contribute significantly towards determining the final standings of the competitors.
"Today was a difficult day. Just after the start both I and JRod lost some time in finding the right way. Finally with each other's help we managed to get back on the right track. After that I found my rhythm back and got the bike safely back to the bivouac. It's only one day left to bring the rally home so that's what my focus is on now," said Mena.
Teammate, Joaquim Rodrigues added, "It was a trying day for me today. I lost time right at the start of the stage in finding the right track and then broke my GPS a bit later while trying to come out of a downhill trial section. I had to stop a few times to fix it. It was a tricky task for me to get to the finish line today but in the end, what matters is to make it to the finish line and I am happy to do that."
The 2019 Merzouga Rally now moves on to the final stage, which will see all participants tackling big dunes of the Sahara Desert, in the final challenge of the Grand Prix Dunes. The main focus of each competitor will be to keep their heads down and make it to the finish line.