Reigning world champion Paulo Goncalves finished the third day of Brazil’s Rally dos Sertoes with a third place finish, and holds on to second spot on the overall leader-board. Likewise, Helder Rodrigues performed well today, climbing one place in the overall standings.
It had been a tricky day at the Rally dos Sertoes for Team HRC, who managed to turn out a positive result, with Paulo Goncalves riding a commendable stage after starting out from the front after yesterday’s victory. The Portuguese rider made it to the half-way point without being reached by his adversaries.
Today’s stage, featuring a timed section of 209.86 kilometres over a mainly rocky course, but also included a lot of loose gravel and stretches of harder surface, which allowed the riders to raise the pace considerably. The ride also took in a lot of navigation as the route wound through rural villages, eucalyptus plantations, and included the speed checks which have become a constant feature in these races.
Paulo Goncalves skilfully handled the Honda CRF450 RALLY, always attentive to not lose precious seconds, and concluded the race with the day’s third best time behind the race winner and Honda Brazil’s Jean Azevedo. ‘Speedy’ is consistent in the second place in the overall. Helder Rodrigues, Goncalves’ sidekick at Team HRC, rode a fine special, finishing in fourth place. ‘Estrelinha’ thus climbs a place on the overall leader-board.
The two will be looking to better themselves in tomorrow’s fourth stage, between Paracatu and Sao Francisco, as the riders prepare to face 363.85 kilometres of timed special – the longest of the whole race- in a stage that totals 585 km.
Paulo Goncalves: “Today was a good day’s race. I started out from the front and finished ahead too, opening the track the whole day. I lost a little time, but that’s normal. Tomorrow, I start from third position and have 360 km to make up time. I hope to be able to ride hard without making mistakes to make up some time and get up to the front of the race.”
Results Stage 3
1 Marc Coma 02:36’10 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
2 Jean Azevedo +1’18 BRA HONDA Honda Mobil Rally
3 Paulo Goncalves +2’40 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
4 Helder Rodrigues +3’07 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
5 Ruben Faria +3’28 POR KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
Provisional after Stage 3
1 Marc Coma 05:18’37 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
2 Paulo Goncalves +3’19 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
3 Jean Azevedo +3’34 BRA HONDA Honda Mobil Rally
4 Helder Rodrigues +5’59 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
5 Jordi Viladoms +8’03 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
Text/Photo: PR Team HRC