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Published On: Thu, Jan 9th, 2020

A DAY OF GAINS FOR HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY, PAULO GONCALVES FINISHES 4TH IN STAGE 4

Al Ula, January, 2020.

Brushing off the set back from Stage 3, Hero MotoSports Team Rally started stage 4 with a positive intent today.

Covering a total distance of 672 kms including the special stage of 453 kmsfrom Neom towards the next bivouac of Al Ula, the team riders rode with caution through themix of sandy stretches, canyons, wadi crossings and gravel sections.

Havingspent the entire day in the desert and arriving late in the night, Paulo was undeterred in his eagerness to take the stage early on, instead of riding at the back of the pack. Being a top 12 rider in the previous stage, he exercised his right to choose his starting position and opted to start the stage at the 26th position. If there was any doubt about him carrying the baggage of the previous stage, it was quickly dispelled by the sheer intent and class he put on the display today to finish the stage in the Top 5 at the 4th position. With his fantastic performance today, he clawed back several places from his overnight position of 110th to jump to 77th place in the overall rankings.

Paulo’s grit and determination rubbed off on the other teammates too, as all of them delivered inspired performances today to post gains for the team. Sebastian Buhler continued to impress with his composure and consistency as he tackled another fast and tricky stage with a 21st place finish. With this, he continues his upward climb in the overall rankings for the fourth straight day to break into the Top 20 at 20th place at the end of 4 stages.

C S Santosh too had a better day in the office today and rode with a good rhythm as he brought the stage home in 44thplace. He also climbed a few notches in the overall rankings to climb up to 42nd place. While all his teammates are fighting for an overall position, Joaquim Rodrigues seems to be on a race to better his own performance with every stage. He put on a strong show and bettered his last stage ranking of 31, with a 23rd place finish today.

In the stage 5, the rally will move to the city of Ha’il covering a total distance of 564 kms that include the special section of 353 kms.

Paulo Goncalves (Comp No. 8) said, “Today was definitely better than yesterday. I started the stage well but for first 100km there was a lot of dust so I didn’t push much to avoid any risks. After the refuelling point the stage opened up wide and then I took my chance to push harder. In the end, I had a small crash that kind of woke me up. It was a long stage with a lot of navigation so I am happy to bring back a good stage result for the team and myself. It’s good for motivation after yesterday and also for my team who had put in a lot of work to get the bike ready for today. My plan is to take the rally stage by stage and try to give my best possible every day. ”

Sebastian Buhler (Comp No: 32) said, “It was a very tough and long stage with fast tracks and lot of stones. Towards the finish, the navigation was very difficult so I rode slowly to avoid any mistakes and catch all the waypoints. Overall, I think I did quite well to finish the stage today. ”

CS Santosh (Comp No: 50) said, “It was a really long and cold day. For me the stage was pretty good overall. In the beginning, there was a lot of dust so I waited to push ahead. The stage was quite difficult but I had a lot of fun today, made considerable time except for a small mistake I made before the refuelling point where I lost my way a bit. Overall my hand is feeling better and stronger, and I am looking forward to the next couple of days at the Dakar.”

Joaquim Rodrigues (Comp No. 27) said, “The first part was dusty again as it has been since the first stage but overall it was a good stage. I tried to push in the beginning and was able to pass a couple of guys in the front, which felt really good. I got lost in the messy nodes between the canyons before the refuel point and lost some time there. Then I decided to focus on my cap readings and managed to get back on the right track. Towards the end, also I lost some time in finding the secret waypoint but in the end it was a good training, and my speed was also good so I am happy with that.

Provisional Stage 4 Rankings

  1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo               Monster Energy Honda Racing           04h 24m 51s
  2. Kevin Benavides                      Monster Energy Honda Racing           +35s
  3. Ross Branch                            Bas Dakar KTM Racing                       +55s
  4. Paulo Goncalves                    Hero MotoSports Team Rally                        +2m 11s
  5. Sebastian Buhler                   Hero MotoSports Team Rally                       +15m 08s
  6. Joaquim Rodrigues                Hero MotoSPorts Team Rally                       +16m 49s
  7. C S Santosh                            Hero MotoSports Team Rally                       +01h 01m 22s

Provisional Overall Rankings after Stage 4

  1. Ricky Brabec                           Monster Energy Honda Racing           15h 06m 43s
  2. Kevin Benavides                      Monster Energy Honda Racing                 +02m 30s
  3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo               Monster Energy Honda Racing                 +08m 31s
  4. Sebastian Buhler                   Hero MotoSports Team Rally                       +01h 24m 27s
  5. C S Santosh                            Hero MotoSports Team Rally                       +04h 09m 17s
  6. Paulo Goncalves                    Hero MotoSports Team Rally                       +07h 32m 30s

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