2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Results
Though he only won the fifth and final stage of the 2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round one of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, Team HRC Honda’s Paulo Goncalves took the overall victory.
The Portuguese Honda CRF450 Rally pilot dominated Thursday’s fifth stage, catching up with Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma, then the overall leader, at the second check point.
From there, Goncalves was untouchable, and eventually finished the stage 1:51 minutes ahead of Coma. This allowed him to take the overall win by 20 seconds ahead of Coma. Taking third overall was Gonclaves teammate, three-time winner Joan Barreda.
This was the first win in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for both Goncalves and HRC Honda. He now starts the world-title defense, becoming the first leader of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in 2014.
2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Podium Quotes:
Paulo Goncalves (Team HRC Honda CRF450 Rally) “So this Abu Dhabi rally is finished, and I’m really happy for me, and all the team. 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.”
Marc Coma (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally) says: “We fought until the last kilometer but in this race we know the starting order has a big influence. We also had a race strategy with Sam (Sunderland) 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 that has eluded us here by such a small margin.”
Joan Barreda (Team HRC Honda CRF450 Rally) says: “Good. So finally I am really happy for the victory here with Paulo in the first race of the world championship, and in the end I’m also on the podium. We did a really good job on the last day and we had a win in the first race for Honda.”
The 2014 FIM Cross Country Rallies Championship continues with round two of five for the 2014 Sealine Cross-Country Rally in Qatar April 20-25.
2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Stage 5 Results
1. Paulo Goncalves 02:44’06 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
2. Marc Coma +01’51 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
3. Joan Barreda +04’26 ESP HONDA TEAM HRC
4. Helder Rodrigues +05’17 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
5. Jordi Viladoms +09’29 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
6. Miran Stanovnik +12’31 SLO KTM Team Stavnovik
7. Jakub Piatek +21’38 POL KTM Team Hanesco
8. Aleksei Nikishkin +25’38 RUS HONDA WI Rally
9. Oliver Lloyd +25’43 GBR SPEEDBRAIN Speedbrain Rally Team
10. Kristian Karcher +27’19 GER YAMAHA Team Karcher
2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Final Overall Results:
1. Paulo Goncalves 16:57’47 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
2. Marc Coma +00’20 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
3. Joan Barreda +08’44 ESP HONDA TEAM HRC
4. Jordi Viladoms +40’49 ESP KTM KTM Red Bull Rally Factory
5. Miran Stanovnik +01:39’24 SLO KTM Team Stavnovik
6. Mohammed Albalooshi +02:00’06 UAE KTM KTM UAC
7. Helder Rodrigues +02:02’29 PRT HONDA TEAM HRC
8. Oliver Lloyd +03:02’29 GBR SPEEDBRAIN Speedbrain Rally Team
9. Jakub Piatek +03:03’01 POL KTM Team Hanesco
10. Santosh CS +03:11’15 IND KTM Team CS