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Paulo Goncalves at the Cross-Country Rally of Abu Dhabi

Monster Energy Honda emerge from Abu Dhabi with valuable world championship stock

Apr 062017

They say a man can lose his mind in the desert. Among the heat and exertion and with the technique required to gun a factory CRF Rally through some of the trickiest and most technical rally conditions…then it takes something extreme not to lose much more. This week Paulo m and Kevin Benavides were among the protagonists of the first of five rounds in the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The Portuguese Monster Energy Honda Rally star scored fourth position overall after five stages while the Argentine – winner of stage four and on the comeback trail after the arm and wrist injury that caused him to sit out this year’s Dakar - classified in seventh place.

“After what happened in the prologue I knew I had little chance of winning,” the veteran admitted. “Yesterday, I was ahead as the leader, but today the other riders passed me as had been expected and I finished fourth overall. We knew this could happen in a race made up entirely of dunes. I could have got a better result in a four-day rally like this… but that’s racing for you. The bike ran really well and the team has worked well together. In a few days we begin in Qatar, where we will have to set the pace right from the prologue.”

“I knew that navigating in the sand would mean that I lost a bit of time, but I was enjoying myself all the same,” #4 commented. “I have finished the rally well with a lot more confidence. I finished very relaxed on the bike with some good sensations.”


More challenges await the duo and the Barcelona-based works crew with the Qatar Cross Country Rally kicking off on the 17th of this month.