Team HRC get the show on the road in Qatar with a fine performance. The second round of the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship sees Joan Barreda grab second spot and Paulo Goncalves fifth. Top ten finish also for Jeremias Israel.
Team HRC’s Jeremias Israel got the tricky task of leading off the second event in the Cross-Country Rallies calendar, which meant the Chilean rider had to open the way and navigate alone at the front of the 194.08 kilometre special stage. ‘Jere’ was eventually caught up by adversaries but took advantage of the opportunity to continue honing his navigational and road-book reading skills.
Paulo Goncalves started the race from sixth position, set a nippy pace and finished a relatively problem-free special stage alongside team-mate Joan Barreda, who crossed the line in second place just six seconds behind the winner. The Spaniard, heading out from eighth position, had set about imposing his cracking pace on the rest of the field and scored the fastest times at the two check-points. He would have done even better were it not for a navigation system malfunction that forced him to wait for team-mate Paulo to be able to successfully complete the special stage.
The starting positions could well prove to be the decisive factors in the quest for overall victory. The latest regulatory change allows the previous day’s winner to choose between the first six starting positions. This will certainly give an added advantage, which permits those starting from behind to retrace the route of riders who have previously opened the track.
Tomorrow’s stage (Tuesday) will feature a considerable increase in kilometres as the rally takes on its lengthiest adventure with a 397.56 kilometre special as part of a total 476 km trajectory.
I think that I had a good day. I passed half the group but from kilometre 50 onwards I was opening the way with Viladoms. The navigation was difficult and to make things worse I had a problem with the GPS. I had to wait for Paulo who was going really well and I was able to make it through to the end without any trouble. It was a shame as we lost some valuable minutes in the final part. Let’s see how the rest of the race turns out
I finished fifth today with a couple of navigational setbacks. From that point of view, it is the most difficult race of the world championship, so I suppose that it is normal that some errors are made. The position jeopardizes the rest of the rally a bit as it means that the riders who finished ahead are able to choose tomorrow’s starting positions. I’ll just have to keep battling even if I don’t like it. But the most important thing is that the bike hasn’t given any problems. I’ve just got to keep battling on.
Results Stage 1
|1||COMA Marc||SPA||KTM Red Bull Rally Factory||2:10’01|
|2||BARREDA Joan||SPA||Team HRC||+ 0’06|
|3||SUNDERLAND Sam||GBR||KTM Red Bull Rally Factory||+ 0’57|
|4||QUINTANILLA Pablo||CHI||KTM Warsaw Rally Team||+ 2’05|
|5||GONCALVES Paulo||POR||Team HRC||+ 4’09|
|6||ALBALOOSHI Mohammed||UAE||KTM UAC||+ 5’16|
|7||VILADOMS Jordi||SPA||KTM Red Bull Rally Factory||+ 8’08|
|8||FARIA Ruben||POR||KTM Red Bull Rally Factory||+ 8’27|
|9||WALKNER Mathias||AUT||KTM Red Bull Rally Factory||+ 13’03|
|10||ISRAEL Jeremias||CHI||Team HRC||+ 18’31|