Paulo Goncalves wins the Desafio Ruta 40 as Team HRC and the Honda CRF450 RALLY pass the arduous Argentinean test with flying colours.

The first hurdle of the Dakar Series 2015 – the Desafío Ruta 40 – has been overcome with a well-deserved win for Paulo Gonçalves and a runner-up spot for Team HRC-backed Javier Pizzolito on the Honda CRF450 RALLY. The squad rounded off the Ruta 40 with a total of four out of five stage victories and a tally of seven out of nine possible podium places.

From Catamarca all the way to Villa Unión, the five-day event proved to be truly demanding encounter for both man and machine. The rally was fought out on the same terrain that will make up three stages of next January’s Dakar 2016. It was an opportunity for the team to put some of the new racing specifications to the test which could be adopted ahead of the Dakar; the results of which are said to have been effective.

On a less positive note, Joan Barreda was injured after a fall in one of the more complicated areas on the penultimate day, forcing the rider to retire from the race. The Spaniard was sped off to hospital to have the damage to the injured right knee assessed. Barreda suffered an injury to the meniscus (knee cartilage) with a sprained ligament which will require arthroscopic surgery that will rule the rider out for several weeks as he undergoes a process of recuperation. It is hoped that Barreda will be back for the Desafío Inca, September 11th to 13th and the Morocco Rally in October.

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Taichi Honda

Team HRC Technical Director

The Ruta 40 was a good test for HRC. We took a lot of information with some great results. It has been a good preparation for the next Dakar. It was very tough for our staff but everybody really did a great job and I’d like to thank them all. Congratulations to Paulo for the victory! Ricky showed us some good speed and potential at navigational skills. I'm sorry for Joan, but hopefully he will be back in the rallies soon.

Private: Martino Bianchi

Monster Energy Honda General Manager

The Desafio Ruta 40 rally was a really tough and very important one for Team HRC. Not only because we won - which is always our main competition target - but also because we did some important tests on our CRF450 Rally bike. Paulo was very consistent and fast throughout and our new rookie Ricky showed his potential. I would also like to mention the great performance of the MEC team with Javier Pizzolito second on our HRC bike. The only negative point has been the injury to Joan and we all wish him a quick recovery in order to be ready for Dakar 2016. He will have a surgery this Thursday in order to fix the meniscus of the right knee and check the condition of his ligaments with an arthroscopy. The next rally race where Team HRC will be participating is the Sardinia Rally in June with Paulo Goncalves.

Team HRC at Desafio Ruta 40 2015

Team HRC’s Portuguese ace Paulo Goncalves has clinched overall victory in the Desafío Ruta 40. Goncalves and the other Honda CRF450 RALLY riders commanded the tough, lengthy and demanding rally throughout, winning four of the five stages.

It was a successful outing for Team HRC at the Desafío Ruta 40, the first of the Dakar Series rallies to be disputed in South America. Paulo Goncalves took up the torch from team-mate Javier Pizzolito – winner both last year and in 2011 – who finished behind Paulo in the runner-up slot. American Ricky Brabec, who had previously performed valiantly on his Team HRC debut in Abu Dhabi, saw his podium chances dashed after some navigational instrument hitches and had to be content with a fourth final place.

Location Information

The Desafio Ruta 40 gets installed in the global sporting context as a premium brand. More than a simple velocity race, like every Cross Country Rally, the Desafio Ruta 40 is an adventure that requires competitors other capacities that goes beyond speed to reach the goal faster. Desafio Ruta 40… read more.

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