The fifth and final day of the Qatar Rally – the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship – has concluded with Paulo Gonçalves in runner-up position. Kevin Benavides likewise placed among rally’s elite with a fifth overall position.
Monster Energy Honda Team close one of the toughest dates in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies calendar after a noteworthy performance. The overall victory might have evaded the team, but a high-level, hitch-free display and reliable bike performance mean the squad comes home with a more than positive scorecard.
The fourth special disputed on the final fifth stage today linked the north-eastern and south-eastern areas of the Qatari peninsula with a total of 343 kilometres against the clock. The day got off to a start over rocky terrain before finishing in the dunes of the Sealine seafront area.
Argentinean Kevin Benavides started the proceedings in second position on the Honda CRF450 RALLY, determined to thwart the attack of the pursuing pack. The group, with the advantage of being able to follow his tracks and make up time, were however, unable to catch him. Kevin conceded less than six minutes to the stage winner Pablo Quintanilla.
For Paulo Gonçalves, Monster Energy Honda Team’s Portuguese rider, the day was all about consolidating his second overall position. Paulo got off to a brisk start and held a swift pace throughout, eating five minutes into the time of the race’s eventual overall winner Sam Sunderland. The runner-up spot in Qatar has elevated Gonçalves up to third place in the championship standings, while Benavides leaps from fifteenth to ninth.
Next date for the Monster Energy Honda Team in the world championship will be the Atacama Rally, the third event, in Chile, from 12th to 18th August.
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