Hero MotoSports Team Rally built on its strong result in the Prologue stage to deliver a strong performance in the first stage of the Andalucia Rally on Thursday.
Sebastian Buhler had a flawless run to bring in a podium finish in the stage, securing third place. He was closely followed by Franco, who balanced caution with aggression to finish in the fourth place.
Joaquim Rodrigues, who had to deal with the challenging task of opening the stage, made a navigation mistake and lost some time in finding his way. However, overall, he managed to tackle the stage well and made it to the finish line in ninth place.
Thursday’s effort from the riders resulted in Buhler retaining third place in overall standings, Franco holding onto to his spot in the Top-5 at the fourth place and Rodrigues settling inside the Top-10 at the eighth position.
The first full stage of the rally offered a warm up to the rally leading into the next stages. A little shorter than the rest of the stages at 177 km of timed special section, the stage tested competitors with medium fast tracks in the same zone as last year but split into two similar sections separated by the neutralisation zones.
Poor morning visibility made it a tough start for the riders and then tall grass and ruts added to the challenge further.