Monster Energy Honda Team make their biggest impact on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge so far: a stage win and overall leadership for the Honda CRF450 RALLY duo in the penultimate stage.
The fourth and penultimate stage in Abu Dhabi, held in the dunes of Liwa desert, proved to be a highly-tactical affair. The competitors, who on paper, stand a chance of overall victory had their focus more on the final stage rather than the win in today’s special. Paulo Gonçalves, who set off from fourth place, caught the front-runners who had started out earlier and rode with the group until the stage-end, as has been the pattern over the whole rally so far. Monster Energy Honda Team’s Portuguese rider finished the day with the fastest time of the group and thus retakes the overall leadership as he had done on the second day.
Paulo Goncalves STAGE: 3RD. +5’34.0 OVERALL: 1ST. 15:32’56.8 We have finished another stage – the fourth of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. I did what I had to do and finished in front of the riders who started before me. There is one day still left to go and I know that I don’t have the best position to start from because the others starting out from behind will try and catch me up. I will try and fight right up to the final metre and try and finish in the best position possible.
Paulo Goncalves Kevin Benavides STAGE: 1ST. 3:38’15.0 OVERALL: 14TH. +16:38’25.7 I’m very happy. This victory means so much to me. This represents all the work that I have put in since I had the fall. It has been a new apprenticeship and a new start to the race and it will really help my confidence. Even if I have no chance of winning after the sanction yesterday, to fight and win a stage like this means the world to me.
Kevin Benavides Stage 4 Results
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap 1 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team 3:38’15 2 RENET Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +2’34 3 GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +5’34 4 WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +8’41 5 JAFFAR Mohammed UAE +10’14 6 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +11’45 7 ALBALOOSHI Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +12’12 8 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team +14’37 9 MEO Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +15’15 10 STEPHENS Lee AUS +16’43 Rider Standings
PROVISIONAL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 4
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap 1 GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team 15:32’56.8 2 WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +0’33.8 3 RENET Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +1’10.5 4 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team +1’15.7 5 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +1’30.4 6 MEO Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +54’44.3 7 ALBALOOSHI Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +1:07’29.9 8 JAFFAR Mohammed UAE +2:22’33.7 9 TOMICZEK Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +2:31’54.0 10 MCBRIDE David GBR Vendetta Racing UAE +2:40’20.8 14 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +16:38’25.7