The 2020 Andalucia Rally concluded with the fourth and final stage witnessing all the Hero riders making it home. The last stage was a relatively shorter one and saw Sebastian Buhler finish as high as 12th, while Joaquim Rodrigues improved his time to take 20th place. India's CS Santosh finished the stage at 23rd, in what was the team's first campaign of the season. Set over a course of four stages, the Andalucia Rally saw competitors complete nearly 1000 km of racing and gain valuable experience.
Sebastian Buhler was the fastest of the Hero riders and showed strong performance, moving up to 18th overall, while Joaquim Rodrigues was at his dominant best and finished as high as 27th in the overall standings. The rider had restarted the race right from the back in Stage 3 after not being able to complete Stage 2 due to a technical snag. Lastly, CS Santosh rode with confidence to finish 20th overall.
Sebastian Buhler, Rider, Hero MotoSports said, "Today was a very dangerous stage because of a lot of dust and no wind, making the visibility very poor for the riders. This rally was good for me and the team as well. We really enjoyed racing again as a team and coming back from a difficult experience at the Dakar earlier this year. I want to thank the team and all our fans for their support."
Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports said, "Last day wasn't a fun day of riding for me. I started at the end and all the dust from riders ahead of me made visibility very poor. So, I decided to ease up and focused on bringing the bike back to the finish line. It felt good to be racing again after the difficult year we have had. I have been doing a lot of work on bike development with the team and it was good to be able to test everything out here in real-world conditions. I think we will be in good shape for the Dakar next year. I want to thank my team and everyone else for their help and support. I will see you soon at the Dakar."
CS Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports said, "We have successfully finished our very first rally after the Dakar 2020. It was a long wait. It was good to be back on the bike but more importantly, it felt good to be back with my teammates. It was nice to start working again towards our goal of Dakar 2021. It has been a difficult year for us as a team and also for everyone else with the COVID-19 pandemic, so I think this is a very positive step to restart the racing activities. I want to thank everyone for backing us with their support. We are very excited to go to Dakar 2021 with a lot of energy."
Stage 4 of the 2020 Andalucia Rally saw RedBull KTM Factory Team's Daniel Sanders on top, followed by teammate Toby Price. James Mccaney of Monster Energy Yamaha finished third. Overall, Kevin Benavides has been crowned the winner of the Andalucia rally with Adrien Van Beveren of Monster Energy Yamaha taking second and Sherco Rallye rider Lorenzo Santolino finishing third.
Speaking on the team's performance, Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager and Head of Hero MotoSports Team Rally, said, "It was a very difficult comeback for the team after the loss of our friend and rider Paulo at Dakar 2020. We had our doubts as we planned to eventually come back to racing. Now, I am very happy to see the strength and character that everyone has shown to get things going again. Being here together was a great motivation for the team and it was also heartening to see them exhibit Paulo's philosophy of all-for-one and one-for-all by supporting each other. We will put all this positive energy and momentum in getting ourselves ready for the Dakar 2021 in Saudi Arabia."
The Andalucia Rally was not only the team's first outing since the lockdown but also the first since the death of their team member and rider Paulo Goncalves in the 2020 Dakar Rally. The team is now gearing up to show its capabilities at Dakar in January 2021 in Saudi Arabia.