Paulo Gonçalves was forced to retire from the stage between La Rioja and San Juan today after a serious crash that led to the rider being airlifted to safety. The hopes of Team HRC, now without its top riders, rest in the hands of Dakar debutante Ricky Brabec, Paolo Ceci and the Honda South America Rally Team, who the team are supporting.
The eleventh stage was marked out in the roadbook as a day for attacking. Team HRC’s Paulo Gonçalves, at least, interpreted it that way and set out this morning with conviction, hoping to whittle down the advantage that the front runners held over him. Nevertheless, 118 kilometres into the timed section, the Portuguese rider fell heavily, suffered concussion and had to be airlifted by helicopter to the hospital in San Juan. After a thorough medical check and scan, doctors determined that the blow had resulted in neither fractures nor any serious consequences.
Team HRC’s remaining competitors in the race Ricky Brabec (USA) and Paolo Ceci (Italy) completed the special stage at a swift pace. Brabec continues to rub shoulders with the top ten rally elites, while Ceci had his work cut out starting from way down the field at La Rioja this morning. The Italian spent the day clawing back positions. By the time the competitors had crossed the finish-line in San Juan, he had made it into the leading thirty.
The red-hot youngsters at Honda South America Rally Team continue to excel and with just two days to go are firmly entrenched in the top ten. Argentinean Kevin Benavides sits fifth overall and the rider chosen by Honda Brazil, Frenchman Adrien Metge, is tenth. The future is looking bright for the team.
2016 January 15. Stage 12: San Juan – Villa Carlos Paz
Special sections: 481km
The longest stage
There is more than 900km to cover on the day before the finish, including more than half in the special section, with the exception of the trucks, whose dimensions are not suitable for some of the tracks on the agenda. In this semi-mountainous terrain, the vegetation which lines their edges might be a bit tight for them! This means that the other vehicles will also have to show dexterity. Fans of pure driving will be at ease, but they’ll have to watch out for blunders: at this stage in the game, a mistake could cost them dearly.
You can see the details of the twelfth stage (route and profile), here.
Stage 11 . La Rioja - San Juan (PROVISIONAL)
|1||Meo Antoine||49||FRA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||5:19'08|
|2||Price Toby||3||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00'18|
|3||Quintanilla Pablo||4||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+2'48|
|4||Rodrigues Helder||7||POR||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+6'02|
|5||Van Beveren Adrien||42||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+12'09|
|6||Benavides Kevin||47||ARG||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+12'13|
|7||Svitko Stefan||5||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+12'29|
|8||Blythe Ian||106||USA||ICO Racing Rally Pan Am||KTM||+21'28|
|9||Viladoms Jordi||11||SPA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+25'29|
|10||Farres Gerard||23||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+27'07|
|11||Brabec Ricky||48||USA||Team HRC||Honda||+28'05|
|12||Metge Adrien||61||FRA||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+28'31|
Provisional Standings after Stage 11
|1||Price Toby||3||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||40:08'30|
|2||Svitko Stefan||5||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+35'23|
|3||Meo Antoine||49||FRA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+43'46|
|4||Quintanilla Pablo||4||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+45'19|
|5||Benavides Kevin||47||ARG||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+57'05|
|6||Rodrigues Helder||7||POR||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+1:02'01|
|7||Van Beveren Adrien||42||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+1:33'46|
|8||Brabec Ricky||48||USA||Team HRC||Honda||+1:39'55|
|9||Farres Gerard||23||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+1:41'58|
|10||Metge Adrien||61||FRA||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+3:19'41|
The greatest and toughest rally in the world, the Dakar’s history has been written in the heart of some of the world’s most stunning deserts and belongs to the world of the greatest sporting challenges of our time. Both a motor race and an orienteering challenge, the Dakar Rally pits… read more.
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