|Rally dos Sertões: Team HRC back in action for the thrills of the Dos Sertoes|
Last year, the Brazilian DOS SERTOES RALLY turned out to be one of the most decisive in the 2013 championship. It was a cool-headed Paulo Goncalves, who handled the difficult course, and made the most of opportunities, leading to a crucial victory as he closed the gap on overall leader Marc Coma. Later in the Morocco Rally, the Portuguese rider aboard the new Honda CRF450 Rally, sealed his place as the new FIM World Cross-Country Rallies champion.
The Team HRC rider Paulo Goncalves will thus be sporting the number one on the Honda CRF450 Rally in a race that will bring back some thrilling memories for the Portuguese rider, for it was there that ‘Speedy’ rode to his first championship win, after a hard-fought rally and a display of strength and reliability.
Paulo Goncalves and Hélder Rodrigues are set to be the Team HRC starters for this edition of the Sertoes 2014, as the victorious Honda CRF450 Rally–winner in the "Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge" and "Sealine Rally Qatar", returns to action.
This comes after the team was unable to use the machine in the Italian race due to its particular characteristics. Goncalves arrives in Goiania in third place in the overall standings of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, just seven points behind overall leader Marc Coma.
"The Rally dos Sertoes was, for the team and I, a decisive race in last year’s world championship, and I hope we can get another positive result and fulfil our aims once again this year," Paulo Goncalves said.
"I will be looking to cut down the gap in the World Championship. It’s a race that I’m really attracted to, as it is a beautiful course; although it’s a shorter one this time around, so we’ll have to really work at it. The team is doing a fine job and the bike is super-competitive, so we’ve just got to get out there and fight for the victory."
Hélder Rodrigues lies in fifth overall position. As had been previously planned at the beginning of the season, Joan Barreda continues his program of preparation in Spain ahead of the next Dakar.
"I’ve been training really hard out in Tunisia since the beginning of August, where I was able to do a lot of mileage, which will be very important for this stage and for the races that await us in the coming months," reported Rodrigues. "The Rally dos Sertoes is a long, hard and technical race, and it will be important to ride well, as it is very similar to the first part of the Dakar. I believe that we have distinct possibilities and that we will be in the running for the victory."
Team HRC General Manager Martino Bianchi added: "In the Rally dos Sertoes, Team HRC returns to the competition with the Honda CRF450 RALLY with which we won the first two rallies of the World Cross-Country Rallies Championship in 2014. It’s a very important race to be able to put the bike’s development to the test, as well as for our rider’s preparation for the Morocco Rally in October, and the next Dakar 2015."
"Paulo Gonçalves will be defending the number one on his bib, in the Sertoes Rally, that proved to be such an important step in winning the championship last time. Alongside him will be fellow-Portuguese team-mate Hélder Rodrigues. Meanwhile, Joan Barreda, who will not be taking part in the championship programme, will continue with his preparation in Spain, for the next Morocco Rally."
The race gets underway this Saturday 23rd August, with a 10 km prologue in the Goiania Autodrome Ayrton Senna. The first of seven stages will be disputed on Sunday. The Rally dos Sertoes comes to a close in Belo Horizonte on Saturday 30th after some 2,600 kilometres, of which 1,545 are against the clock.
"After an excellent start in the 2014 race season, with double victory at the first two rounds of the World Championship in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, and a competitive, but not so lucky race in Sardinia, Team HRC is set to realize another top result at round 4 in Brazil," said Team HRC Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer.
"This race is very special, as Paulo Goncalves celebrated in Brazil his first victory one year ago, and set the base for his later World Championship title. Rally Dos Sertoes is always a special challenge, very competitive and many kilometres in the Brazilian semi-desert. Even though it is 3 days shorter this year than usual, we expect a tough and demanding competition for our starters, Helder Rodrigues and Paulo Goncalves, and will try to defend last year’s victory and stay in competition for the world title."
2014/08/22 | 20:59 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/FISCHER