Portuguese Monster Energy Honda Team rider Paulo Gonçalves performed well in the third stage of the Qatar Rally with second position on the day to remain in second place in the overall standings.
On Qatar Rally’s longest day, with a total trajectory of over 500 kilometres, Monster Energy Honda Team come away with notable results, particularly for Paulo Gonçalves who posted the second fastest time and remains in contention for the overall prize.
The special stage of 353 kms took place over the same course as yesterday’s stage, this time, however, in the opposite direction. Once again navigation was a key issue at play for large sections of the route.
Gonçalves worked hard to keep out of the reach of the pursuing riders. In spite of conceding some time in the earlier parts of the stage, he was able to recuperate after the refuelling, even managing to overtake the sole rider who had started out ahead. Paulo wrapped up the day crossing the line in first place.
Monster Energy Honda Team’s second rider in Qatar, Argentine Kevin Benavides, who set out this morning from third place, finished further back after being unable to locate a waypoint. Benavides came home with the sixth fastest time of the day some nine minutes off the special stage winner Matthias Walkner.
The penultimate stage of the Qatar Rally will take place tomorrow in the northern part of the peninsula of the country with a total of 461.46 km, 337.76 of which will be against the clock.
Paulo Goncalves STAGE: 2ND +3’14 OVERALL: 2ND +6’28 We finished the second day with a lot of pace. Today I set out second and the tracks weren’t very visible, meaning that the navigation was essential. I had to work hard. I lost a little bit of time to Sam but I made it with an advantage to the refuelling. After I kept up a good pace and I got up close and managed to pass Sunderland and opened the track for 40 km. I’m fairly happy with the day’s performance. There are two days still to go and we have to keep pushing.
Paulo Goncalves Kevin Benavides STAGE: 6TH +9’05 OVERALL: 5TH +13’01 I was going quite well until refuelling. In the final section at about kilometre 100, I made a mistake with the waypoint which I couldn’t find and I had to look for it and lost a bit of time. Some of the other riders caught me up and we finished the stage together. Today the hand was playing up a bit after such a long stage, but I will keep battling on and getting more mileage under my belt.
Kevin Benavides Stage 3 results
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap 1 WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team 4:01’25 2 GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +3’14 3 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +6’06 4 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team +6’18 5 RENET Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +8’04 6 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +9’05 7 MEO Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +31’25 8 ALBALOOSHI Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +50’31 9 GIEMZA Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +1:13’56 10 TOMICZEK Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +1:23’37 Rider Standings
PROVISIONAL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE3
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap 1 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team 7:55’44.20 2 GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +6’28.90 3 WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +9’47.60 4 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +12’41.80 5 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +13’01.40 6 RENET Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +15’00.60 7 MEO Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +1:01’35.70 8 ALBALOOSHI Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +1:40’14.30 9 GIEMZA Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +2:00’51.90 10 TOMICZEK Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +2:41’03.60