Third place for Paulo Gonçalves in the penultimate stage - race-deZert.com

Third place for Paulo Gonçalves in the penultimate stage

Another hot day in the great dunes of Liwa, on a day when many of the backmarkers in the general standings were able to pull back time from the leading riders. Kevin Benavides opened the track, while Paulo Gonçalves managed to post the day’s third fastest time.

The fourth and penultimate stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge once again played out in the vast sands of the Liwa desert, with 244.5 kilometres of the 370 total raced against the clock. It was a race of two markedly different parts. The first featured a heavy measure of dunes, some of the treacherous cut variety; the other, a more technical section taking the competitors to the end of the special, situated very close to the bivouac in Qsar al Sarab.

Kevin Benavides had taken the initiative earlier in the day with the group that opened the course. The Argentine, however, was unable to break away from the pack who rode together until the finish line. Meanwhile behind, other rivals took the opportunity to whittle down the difference with the leaders. Paulo Gonçalves, being one of them, proved to be the best Monster Energy Honda Team rider, posting third. After having fallen yesterday, the Portuguese rider made a cautious start to the day, but was soon in all-out attack mode, maintaining a cracking pace that allowed him to take third position.

Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo, fourth, and Michael Metge, fifth, likewise rode their best performances in this Desert Challenge. Ricky Brabec, sixth, held a solid pace ahead of Benavides, seventh place finisher on the day.

Tomorrow, Thursday, sees the fifth and final stage of this Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. It will be a different special to the previous ones, given that riders will start out in rows, motocross-style. The stage will feature a total of 356 kilometres, including 218.6 km against the clock. They will finish the day at Yas Marina Circuit.

 

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