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Rally Qatar 2017

2017 Cross-Country Rallies Round FIM-2 , 1

Monster Energy Honda Team get the Qatar Rally underway

A curtain-raising Super Special at the Losail Circuit got the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship off and running. Monster Energy Honda Team participate with Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides.

A short, but nonetheless spectacular special stage of just less than five kilometres in the area surrounding the Losail circuit got the Qatar Rally underway today. A very compact and rocky track required a mix of aggression and prudence in equal measures as competitors battled to stay on their bikes.

Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides, still fighting to overcome a right wrist injury was one of the first to tackle the unknown track and rode a swift race to score one of the day’s better times on the Honda CRF450 RALLY. The rider who hails from Salta, Argentina posted fifth fastest on the day. Monster Energy Honda Team co-rider Paulo Gonçalves finished behind Kevin, who came home two seconds ahead of the Portuguese rider.

Paulo GoncalvesTomorrow, the first full stage attend. Riders can look forward to a long second special stage with 334 km against the clock. Expect heavy navigation on a rocky ride through the desert, which will include a final section of dunes in the south eastern area of the Qatar peninsula.

Paulo Goncalves STAGE: 6th +0'16.20 OVERALL: 6th +0'16.20

I have finished the Qatar prologue and I made a few mistakes on the way. We have keep on going as the race is likely to get quite difficult with some very tricky navigation. We will have to be very cautious out there on the track. In this race it will be really important to have a good stage each day to be able to get a good final result.

Kevin BenavidesKevin Benavides STAGE: 5th +0'14.70 OVERALL: 5th +0'14.70

It was a good special – quite relaxed but good to gain a bit of confidence. The real race begins tomorrow and we can expect a tough one for the navigation. We will have to be very careful to make sure that we have a good stage tomorrow.


Super Special Stage Results
1 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team 4'31.90
2 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +0'06.90
3 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team +0'08.30
4 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +0'10.90
5 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +0'14.70
6 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +0'16.20
7 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +0'28.10
8 Tomiczek Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +0'39.90
9 Giemza Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +0'44.20
10 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +0'56.50


Rally Qatar 2017

2017 Cross-Country Rallies Round FIM-2 , Stage 2

Gonçalves and Benavides on the podium in the second stage

Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides both posted podium finishes at the end of a lengthy special stage on day two of the Sealine Qatar as the first differences in the field begin to emerge.

It was a tough day out for the Monster Energy Honda Team riders who had to face a long, gruelling slog through the Qatari desert. With more than 330 kilometres of complicated special stage to face, it turned out to be a day for the more proficient navigators of the field. Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides set off this morning amid the first half of the starting order, which had been decided in yesterday’s Super Special stage. The duo managed to keep a strong pace over the entire course of the day.

Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves had a trouble-free stage aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLY on a day that left very little margin for error. Paulo posted the day’s second best time and now lies in second place in the general standings too.

Monster Energy Honda Team companion, Argentinean Kevin Benavides, maintained a similar rhythm to his Portuguese team-mate to finish the special a minute and a half behind.

Paulo GoncalvesTomorrow, Thursday, sees the longest day of the competition. The odometer will be signalling 503 kilometres by the close of the day, which will include some 353 km against the clock.

Paulo Goncalves STAGE: 2nd +9'25 OVERALL: 2nd +9'32.90
The first full stage of the Qatar Rally had a first part with a lot of stony track and a final part with 40 kilometres of dunes. I think that I did quite well as the navigation was really difficult and as a consequence I decided to take things a bit easier in order to not make any mistakes. It went well and later I was able to pick the speed up a bit. I’m very happy and now let’s start the preparations for the stage tomorrow.

Kevin BenavidesKevin Benavides STAGE: 3rd +10'48 OVERALL: 3rd +10'54
I’m happy. I started out well with some great sensations in my hand. At kilometre 50 I stopped to sort out some minor issue, but was able to continue and push hard right up until the end. The stage was really tough for the navigation, with rocky track and some dunes in the final section. I enjoyed it a lot and finished in third place overall. Tomorrow I will have to push hard.


Stage 2 results

1 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team 3:43'21
2 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +9'25
3 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +10'48
4 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +12'34
5 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +13'12
6 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +16'07
7 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +36'37
8 Giemza Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +52'38
9 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +55'13
10 Tomiczek Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +1:23'13

Rider Standings

1 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team 3:48'01.20
2 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +9'32.90
3 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +10'54.40
4 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +12'53.80
5 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +13'14.60
6 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +16'05.60
7 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +36'28.70
8 Giemza Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +53'13.90
9 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +56'01.30
10 Tomiczek Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +1:23'44.60


Rally Qatar 2017

2017 Cross-Country Rallies Round FIM-2 , Stage 3

Paulo Gonçalves consolidates second position in Qatar

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.

Paulo GoncalvesThe 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.

Kevin BenavidesKevin 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.

Stage 3 results
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

Provisional Standings after Stage3
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


Rally Qatar 2017

2017 Cross-Country Rallies Round FIM-2 , Stage 4

Second place for Kevin Benavides in the penultimate stage

The Qatar Rally produced its toughest day so far with extremely demanding navigation. Kevin Benavides finished second on the day, while Paulo Gonçalves still has options open in the upper-part of the overall table.

A change of scenery at the Qatar Rally brought with it a complicated stage with constant changes of route. Competitors had to be particularly careful with the roadbook to avoid missing any waypoints. The tough 337 kilometres against the clock, however, failed to produce any changes on the overall leader board. Kevin Benavides nevertheless moved up one position.

The Monster Energy Honda Team rider from Argentina rode a fine stage. After getting off to a swift start, the young rider started to post better times from CP1 onwards. After refuelling a minor error in the final section was enough to undo some of the good work done earlier, which should have merited a better prize.

Paulo Gonçalves, meanwhile, was also getting a taste of just how tough the navigating was. A slight misinterpretation of an unclear point meant the Portuguese rider conceded some time to adversaries. Paulo scored the day’s fourth fastest time and clawed back some of the lost time. With just one stage left, the Portuguese rider still holds strong in second overall position.

Paulo GoncalvesTomorrow, Saturday sees the final date of the Qatar Rally at the Losail Circuit after 532 km of competition featuring 343 km against the clock to decide the new winner of this, the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Paulo Goncalves STAGE: 4th +6'05 OVERALL: 2nd +12'34
This fourth stage in Qatar has been the most difficult one so far to navigate. Before refuelling I got confused over one of the indications and I had to rectify it, losing time in the process. I was able to push harder in the final part and I managed to make up some of the lost time. I’m second overall and tomorrow will be a very important day. I will try and pull something good out of the bag to hold the position. There are still 350 km left to go, so I will have to be as focused as possible.

Kevin BenavidesKevin Benavides STAGE: 2nd +3'58 OVERALL: 4th +16'59
Today was a good stage that was very tricky for the navigation: the roadbook was difficult and some of the signals were a bit confusing. I think that I had a good stage although I lost some time towards the end. I arrived well and I’m happy with the bike and the way that the team is working together. We have to keep on battling.

Stage 4 results
1 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team 4:02'39
2 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +3'58
3 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +5'32
4 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +6'05
5 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +7'00
6 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +7'20
7 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +39'14
8 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +1:05'21
9 Tomiczek Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +1:06'15
10 Giemza Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +1:33'25

Provisional Standings after Stage 4
1 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team 11'58.23
2 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +12'34
3 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +15'19
4 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +16'59
5 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +20'02
6 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +22'00
7 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +1:40'49
8 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +2:45'35
9 TomiczekAdam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +3:47'18
10 Giemza Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +4:14'17


Rally Qatar 2017

2017 Cross-Country Rallies Round FIM-2 , Stage 5

Monster Energy Honda Team finishes second in the Qatar Rally

The fifth and final day of the Qatar Rally – the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship – has concluded with Paulo Gonçalves in runner-up position. Kevin Benavides likewise placed among rally’s elite with a fifth overall position.

Monster Energy Honda Team close one of the toughest dates in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies calendar after a noteworthy performance. The overall victory might have evaded the team, but a high-level, hitch-free display and reliable bike performance mean the squad comes home with a more than positive scorecard.

The fourth special disputed on the final fifth stage today linked the north-eastern and south-eastern areas of the Qatari peninsula with a total of 343 kilometres against the clock. The day got off to a start over rocky terrain before finishing in the dunes of the Sealine seafront area.

Argentinean Kevin Benavides started the proceedings in second position on the Honda CRF450 RALLY, determined to thwart the attack of the pursuing pack. The group, with the advantage of being able to follow his tracks and make up time, were however, unable to catch him. Kevin conceded less than six minutes to the stage winner Pablo Quintanilla.

For Paulo Gonçalves, Monster Energy Honda Team’s Portuguese rider, the day was all about consolidating his second overall position. Paulo got off to a brisk start and held a swift pace throughout, eating five minutes into the time of the race’s eventual overall winner Sam Sunderland. The runner-up spot in Qatar has elevated Gonçalves up to third place in the championship standings, while Benavides leaps from fifteenth to ninth.

Paulo GoncalvesNext date for the Monster Energy Honda Team in the world championship will be the Atacama Rally, the third event, in Chile, from 12th to 18th August.

Paulo Goncalves STAGE: 2nd +0'08 OVERALL: 2nd +7.42
We have finished the second race of the world championship and it is always positive to finish a race on the podium. It was an interesting race on all levels: it was competitive, physical and required a lot of navigation. It was hard in all of these respects. I’m happy because I kept a high level throughout the rally. I finished second and I’m very happy with the bike, the team and all the work we have done too. We have good sensations to keep on working with and we will be all fired up for the next rally.

Kevin BenavidesKevin Benavides STAGE: 6th +5'49 FINAL: 5th +17'48
I’m very happy to have finished the race in fifth overall position. Today I started out ahead and it was very difficult to make a difference strategically, as there was so much navigation to be done. I’m pleased because I gave it 100% even through I’m not physically at full fitness. It was a lot of hours on the bike on other types of terrain with a lot of navigation to find a good pace. Now it’s time to go back home and do a deep analysis of the whole week and continue working towards the next race.

Results Stage 5
1 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team 3:46'55
2 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +0'08
3 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +2'52
4 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +3'01
5 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team +5'00
6 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +5'49
7 Giemza Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +42'11
8 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +42'36
9 Tomiczek Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +51'07
10 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +54'01

Final Standings Qatar Rally 2017
1 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team 15:50'18
2 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +7'42
3 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +13'11
4 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +15'02
5 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +17'48
6 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +20'01
7 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team +2:18'25
8 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team +3:34'36
9 Tomiczek Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +4:33'25
10 Giemza Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +5:31'28