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The Dakar Rally

Morocco Rally

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Morocco
Morocco
October 19, 2013

Gonçalves and Honda Wins Morocco Rally and the World Championship

Stage 6: The unseen tracks
Total stage: 285 km / Special stage: 219 km

The celebrations begin for TEAM HRC. Things couldn’t have been any better for the new Honda CRF450 RALLY with a victory in the Morocco Rally and a World Championship title picked up by Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves sealing his fate in the final stage of the championship. Joan Barreda finished in third place. In doing so, Honda has won five out of the six stages disputed and has three riders in the overall first five standings.

TEAM HRCzoom
TEAM HRC
Paulo Goncalveszoom
Paulo Goncalves

A thrilling final stage saw Paulo Gonçalves win the Morocco Rally. It was a complicated affair with a lot of challenging navigation and many chances to make mistakes. The Portuguese rider was pushing hard and was able to handle the Honda CRF450 RALLY with great skill, and eased through the most high-pressure moments, arriving at the halfway point ahead of his nearest rival Marc Coma. Gonçalves takes the crown of World Championship FIM Cross-Country Rallies.

 

Joan Barreda started the day from first position, but a fall a few kilometers into the race damaged his road-book. In spite of this setback and not knowing the correct route, he was able to continue, following in the tracks of the riders that had overtaken him. He finally came in ninth, finishing in third overall place on the championship podium.

Joan Barredazoom
Joan Barreda
Paulo Goncalveszoom
Paulo Goncalves

The other Portuguese rider from TEAM HRC, Hélder Rodrigues rode an excellent second place in the final stage of the rally. British rider Sam Sunderland, who set out in second behind Barreda, made a navegational error and finished in thirteenth. In spite of this, Sunderland took an overall fifth final place.

TEAM HRCzoom
TEAM HRC
#2 Paulo Goncalves:
"Today has been a fantastic day for me. I’ve won the World Championship title and also the race. I’m really pleased for me and for the Speedbrain team. We’ve done a great job together. Since Brazil we have been able to win the last two races and the title. I wanted to also thank Joan Barreda who has really helped me. Without his help, it would have been really hard to win this title. Thanks to everyone, and now it’s time to celebrate, recuperate and start all over again."
#23 Joan Barreda:
"I’m really pleased. I had some navigation problems and it was tough. I started from the front and I had to really push things and take risks. It was the only chance. The main objective was for Paulo to win the world championship and we’ve done it. I’m really happy for him. There was also the possibility of winning the race. It wasn’t easy. I tried my hardest until the end but it didn’t turn out. But I’m really pleased to be up on the podium, with a very quick pace, just two months away from the Dakar. The new bike, the Honda CRF450 RALLY hasn’t given us any problems whatsoever, and we hope that this continues.We will keep on working towards getting a good result in the next Dakar."
#6 Sam Sunderland:
"It’s been a great week. I’ve learnt a lot with the bike. On the final day I made a few navigational errors like the other riders. But in the end I made it to the finish-line. It’s been a great week apart from that mistake. A good week for finishing well, learning from the bike and I’m looking forward to the next rally."
#5 Helder Rodrigues:
"This has been a really important race for us. Paulo has won the championship and he’s won the race. I think we won almost every day and I think it’s been perfect. It’s a great start for the Dakar and we will go into it with a lot of strength."
Katsumi Yamazaki : TEAM HRC- Project Leader
"We have won this race and I’m really pleased! The race was really fantastic and exciting. Marvelous. It’s been a great success for Honda and for the new Honda CRF450 RALLY. I’m very pleased and very proud of the team. Not only the riders, but also the mechanics, engineers.....everyone. I’m very happy."
Martino Bianchi : TEAM HRC- General Manager
"It was a very successful race for Honda. We have won five stages out of six, and we’ve won the world title, and the Morocco Rally. We finished first with Paulo Gonçalves and third with Joan Barreda. It was a great team effort -specially from the riders of Team Speedbrain with which we had a great collaboration since the beginning of our new adventure-, and a very good test for the Dakar. Also, with the new CRF450 RALLY we have proved that this machine is on the highest level of the Rally World Championship. I want to also thank all the riders, mechanics and team staff for their work and their huge success."

Morocco Rally Special stage 6 results 

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Ben Grabham (KTM) 2h 26'39
2 Helder Rodrigues (TEAM HRC) +01'18
3 Kurt Caselli (KTM) +02'41
4 Jeremias Israel (SPEEDBRAIN) +03'00
5 Paulo Goncalves (TEAM HRC) +04'56
9 Joan Barreda (TEAM HRC) +17'14
14 Sam Sunderland (TEAM HRC) +38'52

Overall Standing

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Paulo Goncalves (TEAM HRC) 17h 08'59
2 Marc Coma (KTM) +03'44
3 Joan Barreda (Honda) +07'39
4 Chaleco López (KTM) +32'58
5 Sam Sunderland (Honda) +45'57
32 Helder Rodrigues (Honda) +9h 56'49

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