Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2014 [Archive] - Chevrolet Cruze Forum and Holden Cruze Forum

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03-30-2017, 05:32 AM
Heading into the final stage 1 minute and 31 seconds behind race leader, Factory KTM's Marc Coma, Gonçalves rode his Honda CRF450 RALLY to perfection on the final day catching up with Coma, at the second check-point.

From then on the Portuguese rider took control of the race and charged home, opening up a wide enough gap over his adversary to win both the stage and the overall in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, by just 20 seconds after five days of racing.

"So this Abu Dhabi rally is finished, and I’m really happy for me, and all the team." Gonçalves enthused. "We have fought a lot during these five days, but we have shown that we have a strong team, a really competitive bike, some really fast riders, and we managed to pick up a victory.

"So we should be pleased and confident about our future. Our bike is working really well in these hard conditions here in the Abu Dhabi desert, so we need to be happy. Congratulations to everybody."Coma was a little disappointed not to be able to claim the event win for KTM for the eighth time after the retirement of his team-mate Sam Sunderland on stage four meant not being able to carry out the team strategy.

"We fought until the last kilometre but in this race we know the starting order has a big influence." Coma explained. "We also had a race strategy with Sam that we could not carry out after he went out.

"We missed the win by just 20 seconds, which was a shame because it would have been great to win here for the eighth time. I felt very comfortable and after winning the Dakar, I had the same motivation.

"I will try to get the win in Qatar hat has eluded us here by such a small margin.”

Joan Barreda finished the stage in third, consolidating his third place in the overall standings. The Spanish HRC rider won three of the rally’s specials.

For both Gonçalves and Honda and HRC, this is the first win in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Paulo Gonçalves made an impeccable start to his world title defence, becoming the first leader of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in 2014.

The Next race in the 2014 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship is the Sealine Cross-Country Rally in Qatar, from the 20th to the 25th of April. Final classification Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2014

1. Paulo Goncalves 16:57'47
2. Marc Coma +00'20
3. Joan Barreda +08'44
4. Jordi Viladoms +40'49
5. Miran Stanovnik +01:39'24
6. Mohammed Albalooshi +02:00'06
7. Helder Rodrigues +02:02'29
8. Oliver Lloyd +03:02'29
9. Jakub Piatek +03:03'01
10. Santosh CS +03:11'15