J-Rod earns ticket to 2017 Merzouga rally and 2018 Dakar rally
Words by Jehan Adil Darukhanawala
Hero MotoSport Rally Team win their first rally on home soil as Jaoquim Rodrigues wins the 2017 India India Baja in style. Rodrigues was called upon for the race with their Indian rider C S Santosh not medically cleared to race for the event.
J-Rod comes on the back of a strong outing at the 2017 Dakar rally. He was fastest at the end of the first day of dune bashing in Jaisalmer, winning all four stages on Saturday. He ended the day eleven minutes ahead of his nearest rival from TVS Racing – Aravind KP.
Aravind missed out on competing in the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm due to an injury sustained at this year’s Dakar rally. The Indian rider held on to finish second from his teammate and national Rallying champion Abdul Wahid Tanveer.
With the win, J-Rod has ensured himself a spot in the 2017 Merzouga rally, later this year as well as the big 2018 Dakar.
In the Xtreme class, Gaurav Chiripal took top honours in his Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara from Raj Singh Rathore. Rathore was the leader at the end of Saturday’s running in his Isuzu D-Max V-Cross, but Chiripal did his best to overturn the slender advantage that the Isuzu driver had. This with the victory, Chiripal has also earned himself a ticket to next year’s Desert Storm.