2012 Morocco Rally
The third stage of the 2012 Morocco Rally wrapped up Wednesday with a third different rider taking the win.
Stage 3 went to Speedbrain Husqvarna Rally Team’s Paulo Goncalves, the Portuguese rider topping the Erfoud to Zagora stage with a 291-kilometer special.
Goncalves finished three seconds ahead of stage-one winner, Team HRC Honda 450 Rally rider Helder Rodrigues, and 2 minutes and 50 seconds ahead of KTM’s Chaleco Lopez.
Paulo Goncalves (Speedbrain Husqvarna TE449R) says: “Today was the fastest stage of the rally so far with such a lot of navigation to do. Today I managed not to make any mistakes and I kept up the concentration until the end. This victory was just what was needed for me and for the team who are doing a great job with the bike. The developments are going really well and I’m very confident.”
With his second-place finish, Rodrigues moved into the overall lead with three stages remaining. He is followed 11 minutes back by Red Bull KTM’s Cyril Despres, who won stage 2.
As for Red Bull MRW KTM’s Marc Coma, the three-time Dakar Rally winner was forced to retire following a crash. The Spaniard dislocated his shoulder, and was taken to a local hosptial. MRW reports that Coma will return home on Thursday.
MRW says “second after two stages, Marc Coma’s fall eliminated him from the race. In an off-road section requiring a moderation in speed, the rider hit a mound of sand with his rear wheel at about 50 km/h and was flung over the handlebars of his KTM, hitting his left shoulder.
“Rodrigues, who had been riding behind him, came to assist until Joan Pedrero arrived. At that point, the rally helicopter landed to take Coma to hospital. The dislocation was subsequently attended to and the first X-rays were taken, ruling out any fractures. Coma will travel today to Casablanca, before being flown to Barcelona tomorrow for further tests on the extent of the injury.”
Thursday’s stage features a 250-kilometer special test and a 162-kilometer transfer.
2012 Morocco Rally Stage 3 Results:
1. Paulo Goncalves (Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain)
2. Rodrigues (Honda) a 3 seconds back
3.Lopez (KTM) a 2:50
4. Joan Barreda (Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) a 5:28
5. Casteau (Yamaha) a 5:49
2012 Morocco Rally Overall Points (after three of six stages):
1. Hélder Rodrigues (Honda)
2. Cyril Despres (KTM) +11:01
3. Joan Barreda (Husqvarna) +16:21
4. Paulo Gonçalves (Husqvarna) +17:35
5. Chaleco López (KTM) +26:35