|Estoril-Marrakech: Portugiese Hélder Rodrigues took all the podium places.|
Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha) confirmed his status as favorite to win the first edition of the Rally TT Rally Vodafone Estoril-Portimão-Marrakech in the bikes category, especially after the absence (forced) from Cyril Despres. Still, the Portuguese rider had to rely on strong response from Ruben Faria (KTM), Paulo Gonçalves (BMW), David Casteu (Sherco) and Frans Verhoeven (BMW).
With Luis Correia (Yamaha) as first leader, Rodrigues took the lead in the next stage and only lost that position in the sixth stage Casteu (Merija), the first in Morocco. However, the next day, everything returned to the same, with the Yamaha rider no more leaving the leadership until the arrival of the caravan to Marrakech, this Sunday.
"I am delighted with this result. The race was hard, demanding from the standpoint of navigation, but I did not have many mechanical problems and physically I tolerated very well the heat in Morocco. I think this race has a great future in the bikes category", he said.
An idea shared by Ruben Faria, ranked second and first of his class (450 +). The Algarve rider was supposed to help his teammate Cyril Despres in his attempt to win, but the absence of the French gave him another responsibility. "Face to what was outlined, second place was very good and Cyril called me to give the congratulations. There was a lot of navigation, an event really African style, with touches of Dakar. From the riders point of view, the Dakar and this rally are the best. The organization was excellent in the view of indications, bivouacs, road books and choice of special stages" he said.
Completing the podium, Paulo "Speedy" Gonçalves has progressively increased his pace, but with a start that compromised his ambitions, when a mechanical problem forced him to lose 26m in the opening stage. From then onwards, the BMW rider has always been one of the fastest, won a stage (Er Rachidia) and won positions to settle for third place, but with Casteu always around. "It was pretty good. I started with a delay, but later reacted well and finish on the podium is very positive. This rally is very interestingand can be in the future one of major races on the motorcycle calendar."
Completing Top 5, Casteu and Verhoeven finally had no arguments to overcome the Portuguese riders, although the French have gone through leadership and has shown an excellent navigation with his Sherco bike presenting no major problems. However, Casteu was delayed in the second leg in Morocco (Er Rachidia) and no longer able to recover, losing more time on the following days to settle in fourth, forcing a final trying to reach Gonçalves.
As for the Dutch, the BMW driver was also in good plan, especially in navigation, but Verhoeven never really got close to the Portuguese riders. Also to highlight the positive rides of Mário Patrão (Suzuki), delayed before the final stage by a broken engine, and Luis Correia (9th).
Estoril-Marrakech Overall Bikes Top 10 after Final Stage
01) Hélder Rodrigues I Yamaha I 23:01:13
02) Ruben Faria I KTM I +7:22
03) Paulo Gonçalves I BMW I +31:33
04) David Casteu I Sherco I +32:14
05) Frans Verhoeven I BMW I +42:01
2010/06/14 | 11:58 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS