Hero MotoSports Team Rally has begun its campaign at the 41st edition of Dakar Rally with a ceremonial flag-off here.
This edition of Dakar Rally marks the third year of participation for Hero MotoSports Team Rally, which consists of three riders -- India's C S Santosh, Oriol Mena and Joaquim Rodrigues.
The three riders rolled off the ceremonial podium, in front of thousands of cheering fans assembled at the beautiful seaside district of Magdalena Del Mar to give a warm send off to the participants.
The team is confident and upbeat about their prospects at the Dakar 2019, riding on the back of some strong performances, intense training sessions and a much-improved Hero 450 RR bike since the Dakar last year.
Another big positive for the team is the comeback of Rodrigues, who has undergone intensive rehabilitation after his injury at the Dakar last year.
The first stage of Dakar Rally will take the rally from Lima to Pisco for a short warm-up special of 84kms.
"This Dakar, which is set in just one country and includes 70 percent of the riding in the dunes, is definitely going to be very tough on the body and the bike," said Santosh, who is competing in the gruelling rally for the fifth time here.
"However, I am extremely optimistic about our performance at the Dakar this year. There is a positive energy in the entire team and we can feel it here. The preparation has been good and the motivational levels are high. I can't wait for the first stage to get started."
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, said: "We are quite excited to be here at the Dakar 2019 for our 3rd year now. We have had good preparations this year with some solid performances in the races and experience under our belt.
"The team has shaped up well both mentally and physically and we are very happy with the improvements made on the bike as well. JRod is back with the team so there is a lot of positivity in the camp. We can never predict an outcome in the Dakar, so our first aim is still to get the riders and bikes safely across the finish line every day."