Team HRC’s Paulo Gonçalves finished the second stage of the Desert Challenge in third place and Joan Barreda likewise repeated yesterday’s fourth place. Hélder Rodrigues crossed the line in seventh after starting out from way behind.

The second stage went as planned with the three riders on the Honda CRF450 RALLYs arriving at the halfway point with no major mishaps. After days in which practically every rider had experienced tough moments, today it was all about keeping up the pace without jeopardizing rider safety. The route across the sand was not a heavily technical one although in the second special there was the constant threat of running into some hidden hazard. The second part of the course was made up of various banks of dunes requiring some navigation before drawing to a close in Qasr Al  Sarab.

Paulo Gonçalves started out in third place and was able to keep up a fine rhythm to finish once again in a podium position. Joan Barreda was forced to stop after the refuelling to check that his Honda CRF450 RALLY was running correctly and dropped a few minutes. In spite of stopping he managed to finish in fourth just behind his Honda team-mate.

Hélder Rodrigues started from 26th position after suffering a set-back that caused him to lose a lot of time. The Team HRC rider battled his way back into sixth place in the stage and tomorrow it should be back to business as usual.

The Eurosport International TV channel will be showing the highlights of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The broadcast time for today, Monday, will be at 22:55 hrs and tomorrow at 23:30 hrs.

Tomorrow’s Stage:

Stage 3 – Moreeb-Qasr Al Sarab

Liaison: 88.05km   Special Stage: 256.40km   Liaison: 27.57

Paulo Goncalves

"I’m happy with the third place. My CRF 450 RALLY worked really well in these hard conditions here in the Abu Dhabi desert. We’ve got three days ahead here and I’ll try to get ahead and catch up to the first position. It won’t be easy, but we have the right team and bike to be in the running for it. Tomorrow we will see."

Joan Barreda

"Today was another hard day. We started in fourth position and we saw that the front rider was really fast and we tried to keep up pace throughout. We managed to keep up more or less the same speed but I had to stop to fix one part of the bike and we dropped a few minutes, but we were able to make up the time again and keep up the speed. In the end we had a good stage and we’ll keep on trying to get better results."

Helder Rodrigues

"Another day over in Abu Dhabi. Today I held back. I tried to get more speed but it’s not so easy when you start from last place in the race. It’s difficult to pick up the pace of the first guys. I tried to finish the day so as to be able to start among the top riders tomorrow."

Private: Martino Bianchi

Team HRC General Manager

"Another hard day here in Abu Dhabi. We can see that our riders are really strong. Today was really tough for them and quite dangerous. They finished the race in a bunch with Paulo in third, a good position for tomorrow’s attack. The bike’s are holding up well and I’m very happy that they’ve all managed to finish this race, because it’s very dangerous here in Abu Dhabi."

Private: Wolfgang Fischer

Team HRC Team Manager

"Another good day for the team. Paulo was able to stay close to the top riders Sam and Coma. Joan had a few minutes delay for a quick repair but nothing dramatic. Both riders used their heads and didn’t take too many risks because there are some really big jumps over the dunes and one small mistake could cause a crash or a lot of damage. Helder had a bit of a delay but caught up well. In the end all three guys are here and there are three big days to go. So let’s see what happens tomorrow."

2014 Cross Countries Rally
Stage Round 1 , Stage 3   Abu Dhabi

Results Session

Sunny
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Coma Marc SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 03:36'02
2 Sunderland Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +02'00
3 Goncalves Paulo POR Team HRC Honda +02'06
4 Barreda Joan SPA Team HRC Honda +07'39
5 Viladoms Jordi SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +14'31
6 Rodrigues Helder POR Team HRC Honda +14'43
7 Berglund Thomas SWE Rally Rage Sweden Husaberg +23'00
8 Stanovnik Miran SLO Team Stavnovik KTM +24'19
9 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE KTM UAC KTM +26'00
10 Chunchungguppe Santosh IND Team CS KTM +27'05
2014 Cross Countries Rally
Stage Round 1 , Stage 3   Abu Dhabi

Provisional Standings after Stage 2

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Albalooshi Mohammed UAE KTM UAC KTM +01:10'35
2 Nikishkin Aleksei RUS WI Rally Honda +01:24'46
3 Chunchungguppe Santosh IND Team CS KTM +01:25'42
4 Piatek Jakub POL Team Hanesco KTM +01:31'48
5 Stanovnik Miran SLO Team Stavnovik KTM +01:02'46
6 Viladoms Jordi SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +25'09
7 Coma Marc SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +01'25
8 Goncalves Paulo POR Team HRC Honda +04'16
9 Barreda Joan SPA Team HRC Honda +12'08
10 Sunderland Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 07:08'29
Location Information

The erstwhile UAE Desert Challenge, one of the world’s most prestigious international cross country rallies, entered a new era in March 2009 when it was renamed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with the five-day motor sport spectacular being staged in its entirety across Abu Dhabi emirate under the auspices of the Abu… read more.

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates - View in Google Maps

Records

2017 Sam Sunderland
2016 Toby Price
2015 Marc Coma
2014 Paulo Gonçalves
2013 Marc Coma
2012 Marc Coma