Rallye

José Ignacio Cornejo Signs With Hero MotoSports Team Rally

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Photo of José Ignacio Cornejo
José Ignacio Cornejo

Hero MotoSports Team Rally has signed on top rally-raid athlete José Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, better known as ‘Nacho’ Cornejo.

Nacho Cornejo is a popular name in rally circuits – a 9-time Dakar contender, and considered one among the most successful South Americans in motorsports. The 29-year old from Chile joins the Indian manufacturer team after a successful 6-year stint with Honda Racing. Cornejo also comes with a strong background in motocross and enduro formats of racing.

In his nine consecutive Dakar Rally appearances, the Chilean has finished it 7 times, and reached the top-10 a staggering 6 times. A prominent competitor in the premier Rally GP class, Nacho has nine Dakar Stage Wins to his credit as well. In 2020, he finished just outside the podium, claiming the 4th place overall. He finished 6th in the 2022 and 2024 Dakar editions.

One of the most promising young talents in racing today, Nacho demonstrated deep commitment and passion to motorsports from a very young age. Winning the FIM Cross-Country Rallies Junior Championship 2016 at the age of 21 was a defining moment that set Nacho on an impressive career trajectory. A native of Iquique (Chile), Cornejo is a winner of the Atacama Rally, and a podium finisher at Sonora Rally, Desafío del Desierto, and Desafío Inka, among others.

At the recent Dakar 2024, Nacho was one of the crowd favourites for a final podium finish – having won 3 Stages, and consistently making it to the top 4 overall ranks every day. However, unfortunate mechanical issues on the last two days pushed the underdog to a 6th position in the final classifications – an extraordinary overall performance, nonetheless.

Nacho Cornejo joins a strong line-up of super achievers – Ross Branch, Joan Barreda, and Sebastian Buhler. Founding member of the team Joaquim Rodrigues recently announced his retirement but continues to work with the team as its Sportive Manager.

“I’m really excited to join Hero MotoSports – a team that’s making the waves for all the right reasons,” Cornejo said. “I’ve known the team for years, and they’re all good friends from the circuit. I’m sure it will be great fun to embark on a journey with some of the best riders in rally-raid and create greater success stories for the team. In the past few years, Hero has shown exceptional growth, and I know the journey is only upwards from here.”

Undeniably their best year yet, 2024 saw the meteoric rise of the 8-year young Hero MotoSports team to the top ranks of the international rally arena. In a first for the Indian manufacturer, and for factory rider Ross Branch – Hero MotoSports made it to the Dakar 2024 final podium, claiming an outstanding 2nd position overall. Continuing their strong momentum, team Hero went on to win the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March, and finished 2nd at the Rally Raid Portugal in April. After completing 3 of 5 rounds in the FIM World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) 2024, Hero MotoSports Team Rally enjoys the lead position in both the Manufacturer and Rider standings – another first for the manufacturer team from India.

Wolfgang “Waffi” Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, “It’s my great pleasure to add yet another strong member to our team – Nacho Cornejo. He’s a well-known face at the Dakar camps, and we’ve found him to be a perfect fit for our team. His track record is impressive, and we’re sure the team will enjoy greater success with his addition. As a team, we are now at a great place in our journey of 8 years – having made it to the Dakar 2024 podium, and now leading the World Championship! We are proud and happy with our progress. We have tasted success in our three 2024 races and the goal is obviously to make our mark in the World Championship. Nacho also joins us at an opportune time, replacing JRod, who has retired from active racing and joined the team in a managerial capacity. Along with the team, I wish Nacho a fulfilling career with Hero MotoSports.”

Cornejo’s first outing with the Hero MotoSports team will be in June 2024, at the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina – the fourth round of the W2RC 2024. For the Dakar ace, the move to the Hero camp will mean a better utilization of his potential to take the team to greater heights – especially in the World Championship.

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