Dakar Rally: Ross Branch wins Stage 10

Hero MotoSports Team Rally emerged victorious in a Stage for the second time at the Dakar Rally 2023, making this the Indian manufacturer’s second stage win at this year’s edition and the third stage win overall, at the toughest race in the world.

Ross Branch bagged the top position of Stage 10, adding a second Stage Win to his tally in this season of the Dakar Rally. Starting the stage at the 28th position, he posted the fastest time at each checkpoint, and finally emerged the winner of the first stage in the Empty Quarter.

Since its first Dakar appearance in 2017, the seven-year young Indian manufacturer team has been constantly pushing the boundaries to make it into the league of top teams that have been leading the ranks for several decades.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally became the only Indian manufacturer to have ever won at the Dakar with a Stage win in 2022. Fueled by a strong passion to succeed in this difficult sport, the team has put in thousands of hours for rider training and towards developing a highly competitive race bike – the Hero 450 Rally.

A second victory on wednesay at the Dakar 2023 serves as a testament to the team’s unwavering dedication, and their machine’s capability to survive and win at the toughest of challenges.

Having showcased a highly consistent performance so far in the Rally, Franco Caimi finished the stage yet again in the top-10, at the 8th place in the Rally GP class – just four minutes behind Ross. Sebastian Buhler made it to the finish line in the 17th fastest time among Rally GP class riders.

Leaving the bivouac at Haradh, Stage 10 took the riders towards Shaybah today, marking its entry into the notorious Empty Quarter. The 624 km route was mostly liaisons, with the special section accounting for only 114 kms – deliberately kept short to reduce the risks in this difficult terrain constituted mainly by sand dunes. With the sun at its peak, navigating safely through the sea of steep dunes was particularly difficult for all competitors.

At the end of 10 long stages, Franco enjoys a 13th place in the overall Rally GP class rankings, followed by Buhler in the 17th, and Ross in the 19th position.

Making things a lot more complex, the race now moves deeper into Rub’ Al Khali, or the Empty Quarter, with a Marathon Stage. The first part of the marathon in Stage 11 is a 428 km trip from Shaybah, ending at the Marathon bivouac. Keeping their bikes in one piece will be crucial for the riders, as there will be no assistance trucks or mechanics to lend them a hand at the bivouac.

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