The Atacama Rally has again highlighted Team HRC and Paulo Gonçalves’ knack of consistently turning out high-level performances and triumphs in a season about to culminate with the OiLibya Morocco Rally, last stop before the Dakar 2016.

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Team HRC dispatched the duo Paulo Goncalves and Jeremías Israel to head the campaign – the fifth round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship staged in Chile.

Paulo Goncalves once again shone in a highly technical Atacama Rally. The Portuguese rider set out his stall early at the event’s curtain-raiser by grabbing top prize in the short prologue. Although an electrical breakdown the following day, on the rally’s first full stage, needed an hour to repair and effectively ended Team HRC’s chance of an overall win, it did little to diminish Goncalves’ hunger for victory. The rider went on to win the second and fifth stages too. Goncalves’ break-neck pace and navigational dexterity saw him rise from fifteenth place overall after the first stage to a final sixth position.

Paulo Goncalves, with 53 points, now sits in fifth spot in the world championship standings. With just the Morocco Rally still to go, the Honda CRF450 RALLY can still climb various places on the leaderboard. Even a shot at the title isn’t completely ruled out either.

For Jeremías Israel the Atacama Rally meant a return from a serious operation, carried out to remove a plate in his right arm that had been fitted after a bad fall in the Dakar 2014 and had caused considerable pain in the Qatar Sealine. ‘Jere’ was on a three-fold mission: to get back into the race rhythm, get used to the speed and clock up some serious mileage on the Honda CRF450 RALLY. The Chilean put his final eighth place down to a lack of action and sanctions for having missed some waypoints.

Team HRC will be back in competition in the first week of October at the OiLibya Morocco Rally, the sixth and final date whose points count towards the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The race gets underway in Zagora October 3rd and finishes on the 9th in Agadir.

Private: Martino Bianchi

Team HRC General Manager

For Team HRC, the Atacama Rally didn’t go as we had expected. The mechanical problems that Paulo Goncalves experienced at the beginning meant that we were unable to battle for the winning spot. But some positive signs did come out of this Atacama Rally. First of all, we saw that Paulo Gonçalves is in very good shape and he proved that he has very good navigational skills, a lot of pace and is in great physical shape too. He would have won the race, if it hadn’t been for losing an hour in the first stage. One other important thing has been that we were able to check on Jeremias Israel’s condition after the surgery on his arm. It was important to have raced here as we clearly see that he needs more work on every level in order to improve his performance in the future. Now, we have four very important months in order to analyse and prepare for the Dakar with a couple of weeks of intensive tests in Spain and in Morocco. Of course, the Morocco Rally will be the final test with the whole team together before the Dakar.

2015 Cross Countries Rally
Post-Race Round 5 , Post-Race 1   Chile

Atacama Rally Final Standings 2015

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Quintanilla Pablo CHI KTM Warsaw Rally Team KTM 11:07'34
2 Walkner Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM + 0’49
3 Sunderland Sam 1 GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM + 3’14
4 Viladoms Jordi 11 SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM + 21’28
5 Gouet Daniel CHI KTM KTM + 37’48
6 Goncalves Paulo POR Team HRC Honda + 53’02
7 Prohens Felipe CHI Team Hermanos Prohens KTM + 1:06’14
8 Israel Jeremias CHI Team HRC Honda + 1:33’52
9 Albalooshi Mohammed 76 UAE Duust Rally Team KTM + 1:36’30
10 Price Toby 8 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM + 1:46’18
2015 Cross Countries Rally
Post-Race Round 5 , Post-Race 1   Chile

World Championship Provisional Standings after Atacama Rally

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Coma Marc SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 70
2 Walkner Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 67
3 Quintanilla Pablo CHI KTM Warsaw Rally Team KTM 66
4 Sunderland Sam 1 GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 55
5 Goncalves Paulo POR Team HRC Honda 53
6 Albalooshi Mohammed 76 UAE Duust Rally Team KTM 52
7 Piatek Jakub POL KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM 46
8 Viladoms Jordi 11 SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 44
9 Monleon Armand SPA KTM Warsaw Rally Team KTM 37
10 Salvatierra Juan Carlos BOL KTM Warsaw Rally Team KTM 35
11 Barreda Joan SPA Team HRC Honda 30

Team HRC 2015 Atacama Rally VIDEO

The Atacama Rally has again highlighted Team HRC and Paulo Gonçalves’ knack of consistently turning out high-level performances and triumphs in a season about to culminate with the OiLibya Morocco Rally, last stop before the Dakar 2016.

Location Information

This is your invitation to live the Atacama Rally 2017, Third Round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and meeting of the CODASUR-FIA South American Cross-Country Rally Championship. The Atacama 2017 will be unique, traversing the immensity of the Atacama Desert, from the heart of the dunes in Copiapó City… read more.

Copiapó, Chile - View in Google Maps