april 03, 2017 - Honda Racing

Paulo Gonçalves moves up to second overall position in Abu Dhabi

The #abudhabi Desert Challenge moves into the heart of the Liwa desert with a dune-filled and navigationally tricky second stage. Paulo Gonçalves battles back from a fall to post second on the day. Kevin Benavides continues to make progress and sees a physical improvement in his bid to overcome a hand injury.

It was a gruelling 290 kilometres against the clock for the Monster Energy #honda Team in the second stage of the #abudhabi Desert Challenge in the Liwa dunes where the riders had plenty of tough navigation and continual direction changes to deal with.

Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves set off in hot pursuit of the front-runners, managing to catch up the leading pack before the first control point at kilometre 70. From then on, the five riders heading the field formed a group that stayed together until the finish-line. A few kilometres from the goal Paulo fell whilst taking a low dune and had to check both the bike and himself for damage. Luckily, the inspection proved to be negative and in little time the rider was back in the fray aboard the #honda CRF450 #rally to take the day’s second fastest time and move up in the overall ranking to second place.

Meanwhile Gonçalves’ team-mate in the Monster Energy #honda Team, Kevin Benavides, continues to make a successful comeback to rallying after injury. Apart from minor pains in the wrist area near the race-start, the Argentinean was #racing at near full pace in the latter stretches of the race before taking fifth fastest time on the day. The Argentinean rider now lies in sixth overall.

The third stage will, likewise, be played out tomorrow in the Liwa Desert with 288.73 kilometres of timed special stage.

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