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The Dakar Rally

Merzouga Rally

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October 25, 2013

Another Double for TEAM HRC in the Merzouga Rally

Stage 5: Erfoud
Total stage: 259 km / Special stage: 259 km

The riders of TEAM HRC notched up another double in the Merzouga Rally with a win for Hélder Rodrigues and Sam Sunderland runner-up in the fifth stage. It was the Honda CRF450 RALLY that really marked the difference at the head of today’s race.

Helder Rodrigueszoom
Helder Rodrigues
Helder Rodrigueszoom
Helder Rodrigues

After a cold night back at the camp at the foot of the Erg Chebbi, it was time to get back to the stage with a lot of dunes, some dusty track and a lot of rocks.

It was TEAM HRC who once again shone at the Merzouga Rally with some great results: Hélder Rodrigues won spectacularly in the fifth stage, which was the second leg of the marathon, with Sam Sunderland finishing in second place.  

The British rider, who set out in first position after winning yesterday’s stage on the new Honda CRF450 RALLY, kept the lead until refuelling, where his team-mate Hélder Rodrigues caught him up. The two of them rode together until practically the end of the special. Sunderland hangs on to his first place in the overall standings.

The Portuguese rider Hélder Rodrigues meanwhile retakes second place on the overall leader-board after a penalty he picked up for missing a waypoint was overruled in the review of the stage. It was decided that he had actually passed through the point.

Sam Sunderlandzoom
Sam Sunderland
Sam Sunderlandzoom
Sam Sunderland

* Report based on preliminary results

#7 Helder Rodrigues:
"It was a lovely stage with a lot of navigation. Sam opened the stage with a lot of dunes in the first part, where he rode really hard. In the second part I pushed and was up with him until the end. It was great fun. There were some parts of navigation and others of handling, but we had a good time together. I’m second in the overall standings and Sam is first. It’s good for me, for Sam and especially for the team."
#9 Sam Sunderland:
"It was a great day today. There was a slight problem on the marathon stage. Nothing of great importance, but that’s what we are here for; to test out the resistance of the bikes. The bike is going really well, I’m very comfortable with it, with the navigation, and most of all with myself, as I’m still getting used to this type of race, and I’m getting better and better. It was a good day with a lot of navigation in the dunes, with canyons and off-road. A bit tricky, but good. I got to the refuelling with a one minute advantage, which was great. Hélder caught up with me and we had a great time riding together and jumping over the ‘camel grass.’ Great fun..."
Helder Rodrigues,Sam Sunderlandzoom
Helder Rodrigues,Sam Sunderland

Merzouga Rally Special Stage 5 Results 

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Helder Rodrigues (TEAM HRC) 3h 32'36
2 Sam Sunderland (TEAM HRC) + 02'06
3 Olivier Pain (YAMAHA) + 04'02
4 Frans Verhoeven Gerard (YAMAHA) + 04'26
5 Jordi Viladoms (GAS GAS) + 07'16

Overall standings after day 5

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Sam Sunderland (TEAM HRC) 13h 27'49
2 Helder Rodrigues (TEAM HRC) + 15'37
3 Olivier Pain (YAMAHA) + 29'31
4 Jordi Viladoms (GAS GAS) + 50'38
5 Frans Verhoeven Gerard (YAMAHA) + 54'13

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