The celebrations begin for TEAM HRC. Things couldn’t have been any better for the new Honda CRF450 RALLY with a victory in the Morocco Rally and a World Championship title picked up by Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves sealing his fate in the final stage of the championship. Joan Barreda finished in third place. In doing so, Honda has won five out of the six stages disputed and has three riders in the overall first five standings.
A thrilling final stage saw Paulo Gonçalves win the Morocco Rally. It was a complicated affair with a lot of challenging navigation and many chances to make mistakes. The Portuguese rider was pushing hard and was able to handle the Honda CRF450 RALLY with great skill, and eased through the most high-pressure moments, arriving at the halfway point ahead of his nearest rival Marc Coma. Gonçalves takes the crown of World Championship FIM Cross-Country Rallies.
Joan Barreda started the day from first position, but a fall a few kilometres into the race damaged his road-book. In spite of this setback and not knowing the correct route, he was able to continue, following in the tracks of the riders that had overtaken him. He finally came in ninth, finishing in third overall place on the championship podium.
Paulo Goncalves: “Today has been a fantastic day for me. I’ve won the World Championship title and also the race. I’m really pleased for me and for the Speedbrain team. We’ve done a great job together. Since Brasil we have been able to win the last two races and the title. I wanted to also thank Joan Barreda who has really helped me. Without his help, it would have been really hard to win this title. Thanks to everyone, and now it’s time to celebrate, recuperate and start all over again.”
Joan Barreda: “I’m really pleased. I had some navigation problems and it was tough. I started from the front and I had to really push things and take risks. It was the only chance. The main objective was for Paulo to win the world championship and we’ve done it. I’m really happy for him. There was also the possibility of winning the race. It wasn’t easy. I tried my hardest until the end but it didn’t turn out. But I’m really pleased to be up on the podium, with a very quick pace, just two months away from the Dakar. The new bike, the Honda CRF450 RALLY hasn’t given us any problems whatsoever, and we hope that this continues.We will keep on working towards getting a good result in the next Dakar.”
Stage 6 Results
1 Ben Grabham 02:26’39 AUS KTM KTM AUS Rally Factory
2 Helder Rodrigues +01’18 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
3 Kurt Caselli +02’41 USA KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
4 Jeremias Israel +03’00 CHL SPEEDBRAIN Team Speedbrain
5 Paulo Goncalves +04’56 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
9 Joan Barreda +17’14 ESP HONDA TEAM HRC
Final results OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013
1 Paulo Goncalves 17:08’59 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
2 Marc Coma +03’44 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
3 Joan Barreda +07’39 ESP HONDA TEAM HRC
4 Chaleco López +32’58 CHI KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
5 Sam Sunderland +45’57 ENG HONDA TEAM HRC
Text/Photo: PR Team HRC