Hero MotoSports’ Paulo Goncalves delivers a second top 10 finish in stage 5 at the Dakar rally
Hero Motosports Team Rally consolidated their position in stage 5 of the Dakar rally, running from Al Ula to Ha’il. Besides the sand, the 564km stage, with the 353km special stage, was littered with humongous rocks, which, though serving as landmarks to avoid costly navigation mistakes, still were very intimidating. In all this, Hero MotoSports’ Paulo ‘Speedy’ Goncalves continued to push forward, delivering yet another top 10 finish, closing the stage in the 10th place.
Teammate Sebastian Buhler maintained his good form, finishing in the 21st place (maintaining his overall top 20 spot), while C S Santosh too maintained a steady rhythm, coming in at the 37th place (and breaking into the overall top 40 standings). The last man on the roster, Joaquim ‘JRod’ Rodrigues suffered a minor crash, but kept his spirit up, finishing the stage in 25th position.
With the scenery set to change from technical trails to the wide open desert, stage six (the longest stage yet, 830km with a 478 km special) will no doubt see the competitors trying every trick in the book to stay ahead.
Paulo Goncalves (Comp No. 8) said, “Today there was a change in the scenery from the trials and stony tracks of the last few days to the more open desert today. In the first part of the stage I tried to push hard and rode well. After the refuelling, there was 200km of open off-piste that could be fast but dangerous as well. So I decided to calm my pace to avoid crashes and arrived well for me and the Hero team. Now we have one more day before we get a rest day to recover well to race for the second week.”
Sebastian Buhler (Comp No: 32) said, “It was a hard stage and we had almost 200km in the off-piste towards the end. I think I did well today, tried not to go too fast to avoid making any mistakes. The rally is very long and I want to finish with a good place. So let’s see how it goes tomorrow. ”
CS Santosh (Comp No: 50) said, “What an amazing last two days it has been at the Dakar. The last two stages have been tough but really incredible. In the beginning part of the stage today we had some rocks, sands and piste but the second half, for about 200km was just open off-piste, camel grass and undulations. I really enjoyed the riding the stage today and I am starting to feel better and more confident on the bike. Can’t wait to see what the next few days are going to bring to us.”
Joaquim Rodrigues (Comp No. 27) said, “Difficult day for me today as the stage was really hard. In the beginning I was riding really well but in the second half I had a crash and lost some time. But I am ok for tomorrow and happy that I was able to get my Hero back to the finish line. ”