Said I had made my last post, but I had to make this one - was Sam wearing a Klingon Cloaking Device all week?
- Not a mention
The Speedbrain website -
Paulo Goncalves finishes runner-up at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge aboard Speedbrain 450 Rally
In the end the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was a nail-biter. Paulo Goncalves aboard his Speedbrain 450 Rally bike gave another brilliant performance in todayīs closing leg of the prestigious desert race. The Portuguese captured the victory of stage five just ten seconds ahead of his arch rival Marc Coma, placing him second overall in this first round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship 2013.
On Thursday the participants had to cover 296 more kilometres on their way back to Abu Dhabi. It would become the most thrilling stage of the whole event. Paulo started the day behind Coma and both were forced to put the hammer down on the very fast course, as their world elite competitors were still fighting for top positions also. Navigation didnīt play a role today and riding finesse wasnīt a factor either. Goncalves kept his cool under the full speed circumstances and managed to win the stage from defending World and Abu Dhabi champion Coma. In the final rally classification the 34-year-old offroad veteran missed out on Coma by
Paulo Goncalves: "I gave everything today and Iīm overwhelmed with the outcome. Winning the stage and taking second overall, thatīs great. It was a Hitchcock-type affair really, and the smallest mistake could have ended my rally prematurely. I stayed cool though and got the job done. Unfortunately I missed the rally victory by a few seconds. But we showed we have front-runner capabilities and that our motorcycle works fine. I was confirmed that I can fully attack on the bike and run the speed of the very best. Many thanks to my team for their splendid job and sincere congratulations to Marc. We were fighting fair and square."
Team principal Wolfgang Fischer added: "A real nail-biter indeed. At the beginning of the stage Marc Coma was able to gain some ground, but after Paulo had stopped for refuelling he was closing in on him. Ultimately Paulo deserved to win the stage. The ridiculous 32 seconds deficit after such a long rally shows how competitive we are. The top riders in the sport are all on a similar level. Half a minute difference after over 14 hours of total race time, now if that isnīt remarkable! The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge makes for a brilliant start into our season as a race team and shows our potential as a manufacturer. We have two top riders with Paulo and Joan Barreda and Quinn Cody will join the line-up shortly in Qatar aboard the new Speedbrain 450 Rally. We also used our time here in Abu Dhabi to let several privateers try out the bike. They were all very impressed with the machine. It has been further optimised since the Dakar we are back to preparing the engines in-house. A big thanks and congrats to Paulo, the whole team and our partners, certainly to Monster Energy. Joan Barreda will be fit in a couple of weeks, itīs just a bummer he couldnīt finish the race. Tonight we will celebrate and weīre already looking forward to the Sealine Qatar Rally in a fortnight."