SS3: Monster Energy Honda at the halfway-point in the Abu Dhabi

Paulo Gonçalves au guidon de son Honda © DR

The longest stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge failed to produce major changes at the top of the general standings. Paulo Gonçalves, yesterday’s overall leader after the sanction of Walkner, took fourth spot on the day.

The third stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge sees the race arrive at the mid-point with a 288.73 kilometre stage, the lengthiest of the race.

Paulo Gonçalves, who set out from the front this morning as leader, after Matthias Walkner collected a penalty yesterday, was pursued by the main pack which reached him and rode as a group until the finish-line. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider posted fourth on the day and holds a similar position in the overall rankings.

The halfway-point of the rally was a little less kind to Argentine Kevin Benavides who was forced to stop shortly after the refuelling point after detecting a clutch problem. Benavides will, however, be able to restart the race tomorrow.

The penultimate stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge tomorrow will feature some 250 kilometres of timed special in a setting that could well favour the riding styles of the Monster Energy Honda Team duo.    
    
Paulo Goncalves – STAGE: 4th. +12’03 – OVERALL: 4th. +7’47.3
« As we had expected, the competitors who started our from behind were able to catch me up and we reached the finish together as a group. Tomorrow I will have to make up the time that I dropped today. I did everything I could and arrived without any problems, so I’m satisfied with today’s stage. The bike is fine but it’s tough to ride with such high temperatures. We have to keep trying and battle on. »
    
Kevin Benavides – STAGE: 14th. +5:04’37 – OVERALL: 13th. +16:11’47
« Today I was going quite well and I felt comfortable. But some 50 km after the refuelling, I had a problem with the clutch and I wasn’t able to continue. These are things that happen and it’s important to learn from them. Tomorrow I will be starting again and I plan to battle on until the end of the race. »
    
Results Stage 3
1. Sunderland Sam – GBR – KTM Factory Racing Team, 3:55’23
2. Quintanilla Pablo – CHI – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team, + 6’01
3. Walkner Matthias – AUT – KTM Factory Racing Team, + 9’02
4. Goncalves Paulo – POR – Monster Energy Honda Team, + 12’03
5. Renet Pierre-Alexandre – FRA – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team, + 15’01
6. Meo Antoine – FRA – KTM Factory Racing Team, + 17’43
7. Albalooshi Mohammed – UAE – Ride to Abu Dhabi Team,    + 20’58
8. Stephens Lee – AUS, + 28’49
9. McBride David – GBR – Vendetta Racing UAE, + 39’46
10. Tomiczek Adam – POL – KTM Orlen Rally Team, + 42’50
16. Benavides Kevin – ARG – Monster Energy Honda Team, +5:04’37
    
Rider Standings
Provisional Standings after Stage 3
1. Sunderland Sam – GBR – KTM Factory Racing Team, 11:41’20.5
2. Quintanilla Pablo – CHI – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team, + 3’06.7
3. Walkner Matthias – AUT – KTM Factory Racing Team, + 5’14.1
4. Goncalves Paulo – POR – Monster Energy Honda Team, + 7’47.3
5. Renet Pierre-Alexandre – FRA – Husqvarna Factory Rally Team, + 11’57.8
6. Meo Antoine – FRA – KTM Factory Racing Team, + 52’50.6
7. Albalooshi Mohammed – UAE – Ride to Abu Dhabi Team, + 1:08’39.2
8. McBride David – GBR – Vendetta Racing UAE, + 2:14’19.1
9. Tomiczek Adam – POL – KTM Orlen Rally Team, + 2:20’02.3
10. Jaffar Mohammed – UAE, + 2:25’41.0
15. Benavides Kevin – ARG – Monster Energy Honda Team, + 16:11’47.0
    
Press Release,

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