Monster Energy Honda Team get the Qatar Rally underway2017-04-19 09:02
A curtain-raising Super Special at the Losail Circuit got the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship off and running. Monster Energy Honda Team participate with Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides.
A short, but nonetheless spectacular special stage of just less than five kilometres in the area surrounding the Losail circuit got the Qatar Rally underway today. A very compact and rocky track required a mix of aggression and prudence in equal measures as competitors battled to stay on their bikes.
Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides, still fighting to overcome a right wrist injury was one of the first to tackle the unknown track and rode a swift race to score one of the day’s better times on the Honda CRF450 RALLY. The rider who hails from Salta, Argentina posted fifth fastest on the day. Monster Energy Honda Team co-rider Paulo Gonçalves finished behind Kevin, who came home two seconds ahead of the Portuguese rider.
Tomorrow, the first full stage attend. Riders can look forward to a long second special stage with 334 km against the clock. Expect heavy navigation on a rocky ride through the desert, which will include a final section of dunes in the south eastern area of the Qatar peninsula.
STAGE: 6TH +0'16.20 OVERALL: 6TH +0'16.20
I have finished the Qatar prologue and I made a few mistakes on the way. We have keep on going as the race is likely to get quite difficult with some very tricky navigation. We will have to be very cautious out there on the track. In this race it will be really important to have a good stage each day to be able to get a good final result.
STAGE: 5TH +0'14.70 OVERALL: 5TH +0'14.70
It was a good special – quite relaxed but good to gain a bit of confidence. The real race begins tomorrow and we can expect a tough one for the navigation. We will have to be very careful to make sure that we have a good stage tomorrow.
Super Special Stage Results
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team 4'31.90
Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team +0'06.90
Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team +0'08.30
Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +0'10.90
Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +0'14.70
Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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