|Rally dos Sertões: HRC´s Rodrigues "Think that has been a good day for us".|
It may have only been the first of the seven scheduled stages of the Brazilian "Rally dos Sertoes", but the Honda CRF450 Rally already occupies two of the top three spots in the race. On a day which saw the riders head out from Goiania with destination Caldas Novas, on some very speedy and pot-holed track, Helder Rodrigues and Paulo Goncalves finished high on both the stage and overall leader-board.
It was a stage that required the utmost prudence, with a broken, dust-filled Brazilian course booby-trapped with every kind of unpredictable hazard. The real danger today came from the large amount of pot-holes littered throughout, which can prove lethal when taken at high speed.
Helder Rodrigues was Team HRC’s best rider and rode the Honda CRF450 Rally to second place at the chequered flag, 00:01:17 minutes behind the winner, and now lies in second in the overall standings just ahead of Goncalves, who, in spite of having to stop during the special, came in just two minutes behind the race leader.
"We have just disputed the first of the Sertoes specials, and I think that it has been a good day for us," said Rodrigues after the stage. "I finished second which is a great result for me. I haven’t taken part in this race for seven years. I think that the first two days have gone great. Let’s see how it goes over the next few. At the end of the day, I’m second in the overall standings and Paulo is third, but the important thing is that we are in with a chance of winning the rally."
Paulo Goncalves chose to start from third place, behind team-mate Helder Rodrigues and Brazilian Jean Azevedo - runner-up in yesterday’s prologue - who open the way today. The world champion was forced to stop and check on a minor problem, losing time in doing so to the race’s eventual leader Marc Coma.
"Today the first stage of the rally was held. At the beginning of the stage I had to stop to sort out a minor problem and I lost a bit of time, though not too much, and I’m pleased that I managed to finish in third place overall. I’ll keep battling for victory. Tomorrow is another day and we need to be very focused for the next six days of the race," Goncalves said.
Team HRC Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer is happy with the first results: "Today we finished the first special of the Rally in Caldas Novas, after 154 km of special test. It was quite technical, with a lot of navigation and hard terrain. Both riders did a very nice job finishing second and third overall. Paulo had a little problem at the beginning which he stopped to fix. Nothing dramatic. We will be in contention tomorrow, and hope to get an even better result."
2014/08/24 | 22:57 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FISCHER