– Paulo Goncalves finishes the stage in 2nd position, Oriol Mena keeps it steady
Stage 9 of the Silkway Rally brought to finish, another strong stage for the Hero MotoSports Team Rally as both the riders made it to the finish line safely.
Raking up the 6th stage podium for the team, Paulo Goncalves delivered another class act with a super strong performance in the most challenging off-piste stage of the Silkway Rally. He finished the stage in 2nd place, just 43 sec short of the stage winner, showing yet again, why he is considered as amongst the best in the world of rally racing.
Oriol Mena continued to work his way up the rankings steadily and consistently with yet another solid stage under his belt. He finished 9th in the stage and is now placed at 6th position in the overall rankings, with just one more stage to go.
The ninth stage started from the finish point of previous day and took the competitors for a 501 km stage out of which 290 kms made up the special stage for the day. The stage offered a fast and beautiful route, mostly set along sandy roads, only to turn a bit slower in the later half as bumps and dunettes mixed with dry riverbeds made life more challenging for the riders. The last few kilometres set up the competitors for a fast dash to the finish line to reach the Jiagyuguan bivouac, marking the end of the penultimate stage of the Silkway Rally.
Paulo Goncalves (Comp No: 4): « It was a beautiful stage today with lot of dunes and sand tracks. I felt really good during the stage and the bike worked perfectly as well. I finished just 43 sec behind the stage winner so it is a really good outcome for the team. I pushed myself hard today to improve my timing and speed with every stage. Now only one more day left in the Silkway Rally and I hope everything goes well tomorrow to finish my first rally with Hero MotoSports Team Rally. »
Oriol Mena (Comp No: 25): « It was a difficult stage towards the end with some really dangerous piste. I brought the bike to the finish stage safely for the team so I am really happy with that. I am feeling quite good and confident about my riding and looking forward to finish the Silkway Rally tomorrow. »
Provisional Rankings of the Stage 9
1. Andrew Short, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, 03h 52m 28s
2. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports, +43s
3. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Rally Team, +01m 45s
4. Sam Sunderland, RedBull KTM, +04m 19s…
9. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +20m 51s…
Overall Rankings at the end of the Stage 9
1. Sam Sunderland, RedBull KTM, 23h 27m 27s
2. Andrew Short, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, +22m 51s
3. Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Rally Team, +23m 42s…
6. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports, +48m 47s…
16. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports, +50h 32m 29s…