-- OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013 - Stage 6, The Unseen tracks, 285 km in total, 219
km Special stage
-- Goncalves is Rally World Champion
Paulo Goncalves has won the OiLybia Morocco Rally, final round of the FIM Cross Country World Championship, and taken the world title from his arch rival Marc Coma, the defending champion.
"Speedy" Goncalves aboard his HRC Honda and KTM pilot Coma produced a nail-biter on the closing 219 kilometre long special stage, with the lead and therefore the virtual title outcome changing several times. In the end, after one of the most dramatic finishes in the recent history of raid rally racing, Goncalves prevailed by winning the rally - and capturing his first-ever world championship. The Portuguese finished today´s stage in fifth position, one place ahead of Coma, sealing the crown by 3:50 minutes over his Catalan competitor.
Paulo Goncalves: "I´m over the moon to clinch the title at the final race for Speedbrain. We´ve shown before at the previous five races that we have the winning speed everywhere. The team has always done a great job, we were able to keep the title fight open with our Speedbrain bike against World Champ Marc Coma all the way until this week´s final showdown. It´s even more exciting to have my team prepare our new Honda CRF450 Rally in the usual perfect way. It gave me the confidence to attack. I began today´s final stage with a very small advantage and managed to keep it. It was a super narrow title decision, I had to give it all. Many thanks to Speedbrain and to Honda for the brilliant bike, also to my friend and teammate Joan Barreda for his perfect teamplay."
Joan Barreda: "Congratulations to Paulo! I´m extremely pumped for him, being able to earn the rewards of a very strong and consistent season. For myself it was important to see where I stand after nine months not competing in rally racing. I trained hard and I´m happy to win three stages and to finish the race on the podium. Morocco is a tough and tight race. It´s good to see I could help Paulo. Today I wanted to go to the front, but I hit the ground soon after the start and lost minutes while repairing my bike. I came from behind and was able to get back to the front before my navigation device stopped working as a result of the crash. Marc could pass and take second place away from me."
Goncalves won two of the six stages in Morocco, his teammate Joan Barreda won three stages. The Iberian Speedbrain Honda pair dominated the proceedings from the word go, shocking the field with their speed and coolness. The title win is a remarkable feat for Speedbrain mastermind Wolfgang Fischer and his whole crew as well as for Honda, who returned to rally racing with an official factory effort just 15 months ago.
Goncalves meanwhile had successfully raced the first five rounds of the 2013 World Championship aboard the Bavarian Speedbrain 450 Rally machine. He won one round with the in-house developed rally weapon and kept Coma honest all the way to the finale in Morocco.
In preparation of the Rally Dakar, Speedbrain with its knowledge and top riders, and HRC Honda with their brand new Honda CRF450 Rally, created a winning combination. It works either way, as over 450cc World Cup winner Juan Carlos Salvatierra has shown. The Bolivian rode three races of the World Cup season with a Honda and three with a Speedbrain 450 Rally. Eventually he took the title, just like Goncalves did today.
Results Stage 6:
1. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) 2:26:39 hrs
2. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:01:18
3. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:02:41
4. Jeremias Israel (CHL, Speedbrain) +00:03:00
5. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:04:56
6. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:08:26
7. Frans Verhoeven (NLD, Yamaha) +00:11:06
8. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:16:40
9. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:17:14
10. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:18:35
Overall Results OiLibya Rally Morocco 2013:
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) 17:08:59 hrs
2. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:03:44
3. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:07:39
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:32:58
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:45:57
6. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:55:08
7. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +01:04:32
8. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +01:06:09
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +01:08:58
10. Frans Verhoeven (NLD, Yamaha) +01:41:38
-- HRC Report - Gonçalves and Honda wins Morocco Rally and the World Championship
The celebrations begin for TEAM HRC. Things couldn’t have been any better for the new Honda CRF450 RALLY with a victory in the Morocco Rally and a World Championship title picked up by Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves sealing his fate in the final stage of the championship. Joan Barreda finished in third place. In doing so, Honda has won five out of the six stages disputed and has three riders in the overall first five standings.
A thrilling final stage saw Paulo Gonçalves win the Morocco Rally. It was a complicated affair with a lot of challenging navigation and many chances to make mistakes. The Portuguese rider was pushing hard and was able to handle the Honda CRF450 RALLY with great skill, and eased through the most high-pressure moments, arriving at the halfway point ahead of his nearest rival Marc Coma. Gonçalves takes the crown of World Championship FIM Cross-Country Rallies.
Joan Barreda started the day from first position, but a fall a few kilometres into the race damaged his road-book. In spite of this setback and not knowing the correct route, he was able to continue, following in the tracks of the riders that had overtaken him. He finally came in ninth, finishing in third overall place on the championship podium.
The other Portuguese rider from TEAM HRC, Hélder Rodrigues rode an excellent second place in the final stage of the rally. British rider Sam Sunderland, who set out in second behind Barreda, made a navegational error and finished in thirteenth. In spite of this, Sunderland took an overall fifth final place.
Paulo Goncalves 1st 17:08'59 TEAM HRC
"Today has been a fantastic day for me. I’ve won the World Championship title and also the race. I’m really pleased for me and for the Speedbrain team. We’ve done a great job together. Since Brasil we have been able to win the last two races and the title. I wanted to also thank Joan Barreda who has really helped me. Without his help, it would have been really hard to win this title. Thanks to everyone, and now it’s time to celebrate, recuperate and start all over again."
Joan Barreda 3rd +7'39 TEAM HRC
"I’m really pleased. I had some navigation problems and it was tough. I started from the front and I had to really push things and take risks. It was the only chance. The main objective was for Paulo to win the world championship and we’ve done it. I’m really happy for him. There was also the possibility of winning the race. It wasn’t easy. I tried my hardest until the end but it didn’t turn out. But I’m really pleased to be up on the podium, with a very quick pace, just two months away from the Dakar. The new bike, the Honda CRF450 RALLY hasn’t given us any problems whatsoever, and we hope that this continues.We will keep on working towards getting a good result in the next Dakar."
Sam Sunderland 5th +45'57 TEAM HRC
"It’s been a great week. I’ve learnt a lot with the bike. On the final day I made a few navigational errors like the other riders. But in the end I made it to the finish-line. It’s been a great week apart from that mistake. A good week for finishing well, learning from the bike and I’m looking forward to the next rally."
Helder Rodrigues 32th +9:56'49 TEAM HRC
"This has been a really important race for us. Paulo has won the championship and he’s won the race. I think we won almost every day and I think it’s been perfect. It’s a great start for the Dakar and we will go into it with a lot of strength."
Katsumi Yamazaki TEAM HRC Dakar Project Leader
"We have won this race and I’m really pleased! The race was really fantastic and exciting. Marvelous. It’s been a great success for Honda and for the new Honda CRF450 RALLY. I’m very pleased and very proud of the team. Not only the riders, but also the mechanics, engineers.....everyone. I’m very happy."
Martino Bianchi TEAM HRC General Manager
"It was a very successful race for Honda. We have won five stages out of six, and we’ve won the world title, and the Morocco Rally. We finished first with Paulo Gonçalves and third with Joan Barreda. It was a great team effort -specially from the riders of Team Speedbrain with which we had a great collaboration since the beginning of our new adventure-, and a very good test for the Dakar. Also, with the new CRF450 RALLY we have proved that this machine is on the highest level of the Rally World Championship. I want to also thank all the riders, mechanics and team staff for their work and their huge success."
-- KTM Report
But while Coma had to concede overall victory after a hard fought battle, the event was still a very strong result overall for both the KTM Factory Team and its support riders. They all delivered impressive results, and above all, were extremely pleased with the performance of the newly rolled out KTM 450 Rally factory bike, which made its first competitive appearance in Morocco.
Factory Team Manager Alex Doringer was particularly upbeat at the end of the event: “The positive thing is that our new bike really proved the quality it is! I am super pumped and very proud of what we have built. Dakar is coming soon and we are on the right track to fight for another victory.” Doringer added that in the Dakar 2014, KTM expected good performances from its factory team (Coma, Chaleco Lopez, Ruben Faria and Kurt Caselli) and from support riders Ben Grabham of Australia and South African Riaan van Niekerk
The week also ended on a high for Grabham (KTM Australia) when he won the final stage and jumped three places in the overall standings from ninth to sixth. Also for Caselli, the team’s American rider who was third in Stage Six just 2 minute 41 behind the leader Grabham and seventh overall despite having picked up a 20 minute penalty on the opening day for missing a Waypoint.
Coma had started strongly on the final day in what was perhaps the most difficult stage of this year’s edition and had almost trimmed his time deficit completely when things went sour after CP1. Even Coma’s rich experience was not enough to make up the time after he made a navigation error. By CP2 he had conceded 2’40” to Gonclaves and by the end of the stage he trailed his rival by 3’44”, still good enough to secure second place in both the rally and the World Championship.
After missing the Dakar 2013 through a shoulder injury from the Morocco Rally in 2012, Coma had started the World Championship series strongly by winning the first three rounds in United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Sardinia. With podiums in the South American rounds, he then went into the final round with a narrow three-point lead over Goncalves.
The Morocco Rally was also a strong event for factory rider Chaleco Lopez, who despite some difficulties on the final day finished fourth overall, and for both Caselli and Grabham. Caselli was drafted in at the last minute to race for the injured Coma in Dakar 2013 and has since been named as a full factory rider for KTM. Grabham also made his Dakar Rally debut in 2013, a remarkable feat as just one year before he had suffered serious back injuries when he hit a kangaroo at high speed in an offroad event in Australia. Grabham is one of the most highly decorated offroad riders in Australia and is a KTM Australia support rider. Support rider Riaan van Niekerk of South Africa was also promising, steadily moving up the overall standings after each stage to finally finish twelfth. The unluckiest member of the team was factory rider Ruben Faria of Portugal who was still dealing with the consequences of a fractured hand from the Rally dos Sertoes in Brazil in August. He was experiencing a lot of pain and rider and team jointly decided after Stage Three that he should withdraw to concentrate on getting fit for the Dakar.
-- Speedbrain Report
he sixth and final stage of the OiLibya Morocco Rally has been a highly successful one for both Speedbrain´s factory and customer division. On yet another day with plenty of navigational challenges it was Paulo Goncalves who became the FIM Cross Country Rally World Champ 2013. Juan Carlos Salvatierra is the World Cup winner in the category over 450cc.
"Chavo" completely controlled the world cup classification, winning his class in Morocco and the title. The Bolivian swapped his Honda against a Speedbrain machine during the season, racing in the over 450 class, which is the category for privateers. Although Salvatierra was not among the front-runners today, he easily took the over 450cc rally victory.
Speedbrain Rookie Jeremias Israel meanwhile showed his strength, taking fourth place on the final day. The rider from Chile just missed out on Saturday´s podium. He´s considered a top ten candidate for the Rally Dakar. Italy´s Alessandro Botturi ended the race in ninth overall after another solid day.
Speedbrain celebrates the end of the season with the biggest success in the history of the company. Paulo Goncalves, who has been riding for the Bavarian squad for many years, clinched the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship aboard his Honda CRF450 Rally. The Portuguese has competed in the previous five series races with a Speedbrain 450 Rally. Teammate Joan Barreda rounds out the success finishing third in the OiLibya Morocco.
-- OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013 - Stage 5, From Erg Chebbi to Oued el Mader, 349
km in total, 310 km Special stage
-- Barreda aboard his HRC Honda lands third day win in Morocco
At the OiLibya Morocco Rally, final round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship, stage five is in the books. The Speedbrain Honda duo of Joan "Bang Bang" Barreda and Paulo "Speedy" Goncalves continues to dominate. On Friday Barreda captured his third stage win of the race, his teammate Goncalves has owned the other two days.
Today saw the longest stage of the rally, characterised by a fast and dusty piste, which made overtaking quite dangerous. Barreda with his latest coup took the overall lead from Goncalves, who enters the final stage on Saturday sitting in second place.
Paulo Goncalves: "Another good day for me and my Team HRC. I managed to stay in front almost all throughout the stage and do the opening navigation until I got caught by Marc Coma 50 km to the end. Tomorrow is the final day. We stay focused to try to finish the race in the way we worked through all the stages and defend our positions."
Joan Barreda: "Today I attacked from my starting position seven, and I could gain four minutes on Marc Coma, but it was extremely dusty and dangerous to pass the riders starting in front of me. Everything is working fine though, and tomorrow I will do my best to stay on top of the game."
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager: "Five out of five day wins on an outstanding new HRC Honda CRF 450 Rally. The ever-improving performance of the team and our riders shows its effect now, we are very happy things are going this well. Tomorrow will still be a difficult final day to race and to do our best to bring the result home, KTM is very close. Keep fingers crossed..."
Provisional Results Stage 5:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 3:17:35 hrs
2. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:04:15
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:04:26
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:05:39
5. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:06:46
6. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:06:57
7. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:08:14
8. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:12:11
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:12:46
10. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:16:55
Overall Standings after Stage 5:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 14:32:45 hrs
2. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:04:36
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:04:56
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:15:57
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:16:40
6. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:57:09
7. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +01:00:53
8. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +01:04:43
9. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +01:11:26
10. Frans Verhoeven (NLD, Yamaha) +01:25:07
-- HRC Report
Joan Barreda took the honors in the fifth stage of the OiLibya Morocco Rally, the third so far in this race and the fifth consecutive victory for the Honda CRF450 RALLY which is proving to be of the highest level winning everything since the competition began. The Spanish rider showed himself to be on top form and in doing so returns to the top of the overall leaderboard. His TEAM HRC team-mate, Paulo Gonçalves finished a tricky stage but manages to keep his title hopes alive as we go into tomorrow’s special, the last of the rally.
Spanish rider Joan Barreda’s victory came after the longest stage so far in the rally. Today turned out to be a tough ride for all the team due to a particularly dusty special on route to the dunes. Barreda really put the Honda CRF450 RALLY through its paces to take the best time, some 4 minutes 15 seconds ahead of TEAM HRC team-mate Sam Sunderland. The second place gives the British rider his best result so far in the rally.
Paulo Gonçalves did an impeccable job of keeping his nearest rival in the championship in check. He started out first today, opening the way, and only managed to concede 2'26”. The Portuguese rider is now right behind Barreda in the overall standings. Team-mate Hélder Rodrigues finished in seventh place after starting the special from third position.
Javier Pizzolito was unable to start this morning after the race doctor ruled him out of rally. Yesterday’s fall caused Javier to suffer a perforated muscle in his left leg.
Joan Barreda 1st 03:17'35 TEAM HRC
"It was a difficult day. There was a lot of dust and it was really hard to overtake. In the end I got a good result but it was difficult to get past Olivier Pain. After refuelling I set a good pace and continued to push until the end.
It’s really important to win the race for Honda; let’s see if Paulo can win the championship. At the moment we are well on the way. We are in a great position for tomorrow, and we hope it all goes well. We know that we are at a good level, that the bike is going really well, and we are in with a shout. We’ve got to work hard in the next two months but I’m sure that we can get a good result in the next Dakar."
Sam Sunderland 2nd +4'15 TEAM HRC
"There was a lot of dust on the track until we got to the refuelling. I think that it went well from then on. I thought that I had some kind of problem, so I had to stop to take a look, so I lost a bit of time, but it has been a good day all round. Very good for Honda. It’s been long and hard, but it’s been good. I’m getting better at the navegating, and I’m improving constantly."
Paulo Goncalves 5th +6'46 TEAM HRC
"I think that I rode a really good special. I led the way until kilometre 260 when my CAP stopped working. Marc passed me and I figured that I had lost about 20 minutes of the difference from when we set out. There’s one day to go. Let’s see how it plays out."
-- Speedbrain Report
Alessando Botturi (Italy), Juan Carlos Salvatierra (Bolivia) and Jeremias Israel (Chile) jointly improved their position in the overall standings of the OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013, the final round of the FIM Cross Country World Championship.
The longest stage of the six-day race was demanding and dangerous. The field had to deal with high speeds and plenty of dust, which asked for a lot of risk-taking when trying to pass fellow competitors. The Speedbrain trio rode safely to the finish and avoided mistakes on the 310 kilometre-long special stage.
Botturi secured ninth place in Friday´s stage, putting him back in seventh overall. The two South Americans just missed out on the top ten and now sit in 11th and 13th, respectively. The rally closes on Saturday with the final stage.
-- Tomorrow - Stage 6 : The unseen tracks - Liaison : 27km - Selective sector : 219km - Liaison : 39km
For the final stage of the OiLibya Rally of Morocco 2013, sand and navigation return once again. After alternating fast tracks and crossing unseen dunes, participants return up the oued with the mythical Erg Chebbi on the left. To finish, they travel west to reach the dunes and cross their final one before reaching the finish arch of the Rally.
-- OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013
-- Stage 4, On the tracks of the Mummie, 361 km in total, 295 km Special stage
-- Goncalves wins stage four and takes overall lead in Morocco
Paulo Goncalves was showing his great fighting attitude during stage four of the OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013, winning the day in front of his KTM competitor Marc Coma and taking back the overall lead from his teammate Joan Barreda.
The hard, fast and stoney stage over a total distance of 361 km offered a variety of navigational challenges, including a mining area with dozens of tracks to choose the right ones from. Both HRC Honda riders managed the day in a very convincing manner. Joan "Bang Bang" Barreda had the pleasure to open the track starting first, but he lost a bit of time figuring out a few difficult placed waypoints while heading the pack. The Spaniard still passed the finish line as first rider home. "Speedy" Goncalves was pushing hard and could pass Marc Coma on the stoney tracks in the mountains.
Joan Barreda: "I was pushing hard today to keep my overall lead. It was real tricky and I had to take care not making a costful mistake. All in all a very good stage, even if I lost some time riding in front of the pack."
Paulo Goncalves: "Another great day victory for me and the team - I could not have been asking for more to be in a good position for the final two days, so a very important stage today. The pace in front was incredible, I had a nice fight with Marc, thanks to my friend Joan for his team play. Still two difficult stages to come, we will stay focused and give it all."
The rally, final round of the FIM Cross Country World Championship, after Thursday´s events in a nutshell: first place overall handed over from Joan Barreda to his teammate Paulo Goncalves. Looking at the four stages, it´s been a clean sweep for HRC Honda and its Speedbrain-managed riders.
Provisional Results Stage 4:
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) 3:01:49 hrs
2. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:02:26
3. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:05:56
4. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:07:39
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:07:46
6. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:09:03
7. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:09:37
8. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:16:14
9. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:19:14
10. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:19:49
Overall Standings after Stage 4:
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) 11:13:00
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:02:10
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:02:40
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:12:28
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:14:35
6. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:30:51
7. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:47:08
8. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:49:58
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:50:17
10. Frans Verhoeven (NLD, Yamaha) 01:06:18
-- HRC Report
Fourth Win for the Honda CRF450 RALLY in the OiLibya Morocco Rally
It’s as good a start as it gets for the Honda CRF450 with four wins out of four stages of the OiLibya Morocco Rally. The second half of the OiLibya Morocco Rally was a long and arduous stage, but one of great satisfaction for Team HRC. The move from Zagora to Erfoud brought a fine victory for the team with Paulo Gonçalves winning his second day as well as taking the overall leadership, bringing the Honda CRF450 RALLY tally to four straight wins. In addition Hélder Rodrigues made a return to front with a third place on the day.
Paulo Gonçalves stated that he was very pleased with his performance in the rally, not just for having got through a long and tricky course, but also for getting back on top of the overall leaderboard. The day turned out to be one of heavy navigation, in which the Portuguese rider set off at a great pace in persuit of his main championship rival, crossing the Erfoud finishing line in victorious fashion.
Likewise, his fellow Portuguese TEAM HRC rider Hélder Rodrigues had a smile back on his face after having getting over a couple of eventful days. Hélder took the third fastest time in the special. British rider Sam Sunderland also did well in the special finishing in fifth place after starting out in third.
Joan Barreda started the day well, but lost all the advantage that he had built up over the other riders trying to find a hidden waypoint. In the end the Spanish rider came in seventh place. Argentinian Javier Pizzolito was struck by a similar fate, falling while in search of an obligatory passing point and digging a stone in his right leg. Even so, he was still able to take eighth spot, but will not start tomorrow because the medical staff give not him the permission for safety reason.
Paulo Goncalves 1st 3:01'49 TEAM HRC
"Today was a very important and long stage. A lot of dust, rocks, fast track, but in the end it turned out well for me and for the Honda CRF450 RALLY. I won the rally and we are in a great overall position. There’s two days left and you never know what is going to happen. We have to stay really focussed."
Helder Rodrigues 3rd +5'56 TEAM HRC
"There was a lot of navegation today, with potholes and some technical zones. I pushed hard all morning to get to the head of the race. I’m happy with my third place. Marc and Paulo are fighting for the championship but I’m not in the running. I do my job without making any mistakes. I’m happy with the bike; it’s good and fast and the team are really doing well."
Sam Sunderland 5th +7'46 TEAM HRC
"It’s been a good stage. I was going really well until the refuelling then I got on the wrong path and couldn’t find the waypoint, so I was forced to go back and make a check. After that I pushed hard to try and catch up with the lads, because Paulo and Coma had overtaken me. I was fast and I think that I did a good job overall. The bike is going really well and I’m very happy."
Joan Barreda 7th +9'37 TEAM HRC
"This fourth stage could have been better, but it was a good day with a lot of tough navegating which I managed well with a good steady pace. I had a hard time finding one of the waypoints when Pablo appeared. After that I made it to the line really pushing hard. I’m pleased overall."
Javier Pizzolito 8th +16'14 TEAM HRC
"Today was a really complicated stage with some problems with the GPS from the start. I fell in a rocky area, and damaged the bike quite a bit. It came off much worse than it should have for a bump of that size."
-- Speedbrain Report
Speedbrain rider Juan Carlos Salvatierra performed well during stage four of the OiLibya Morocco Rally, finishing the day´s events in 11th place. "Chavo" now sits not far behind the top ten. Manwhile his teammates Alessandro Botturi and Jeremias Israel fell victim to the navigational challenges the race provided. Both failed to find the right path riding through the dust of their competitors.
The special stage on Thursday was twisty, stoney, fast, and following the rider in front of you could be a bad idea. Both the Italian and the Chilean lost valuable time on "the tracks of mummie" and arrived at the bivouac scratching their heads. But that´s exactly why the Morocco Rally, final round of the FIM Cross Country World Championship, is the perfect preparation for the upcoming Rally Dakar.
Botturi, who still maintained his place inside the top ten, has two days left to gain back ground on his rivals. Salvatierra currently lies 13th, team newcomer Isreal 16th.
-- TOMORROW' STAGE
Stage 5 : From Erg Chebbi to Oued El Mader
Liaison : 14km
Selective sector : 310km
Liaison : 25km
The fifth stage is the longest and most varied of the rally. A winding track between the hills will lead participants to a beautiful palm grove. Photographers and spectators will be gathered waiting for you at the top of the palm grove. Then the descent of the oued will take you along the Erg Chebbi. As you approach the village of Merdani, you will cross the majestic and famous dunes of Erg Chebbi from east to west to reach the service in Merzouga. The final tracks are simple but technical and care should be taken whilst navigating through the many parallel tracks to the end.
-- OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013
-- Stage 3, Under the sun of Mahmid, 413 km in total, 250 km Special stage
-- Brilliant Day 3 victory for Barreda on HRC Honda in Maroc
"Bang Bang" Barreda on his brandnew Honda CRF 450 Rally made another example of his class, winning day three of the Maroc in the sand dunes of Mhamid.
Barredas team mate Paulo Goncalves had the difficult task to open the track from first starting position following his yesterday stage victory and did a outstanding job by leading the race from start to finish.
"Speedy" Goncalves was showing blistering speed and confidence in his navigation through the key section of todays stage, a 50 km long sea of dunes.
Joan Barreda: "Today I had lot's of fun to attack and trying to catch back the overall lead and to make a gap to my competitors. It was like dune motocross today, and Paulo did a perfect job to stay in front pushing hard."
Paulo Goncalves: "To open a stage like today and pass the finish line as first rider is a special satisfaction. I was riding very well today, and managed a perfect navigation."
Joan took over the overal lead from Paulo, while Paulo keeping P2 overall in front of Marc Coma by a few seconds.
Provisional Results Stage 3:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 2:43:57 hrs
2. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:02:29
3. Jeremias Israel (CHL, Speedbrain) +00:04:39
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:04:43
5. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:06:17
6. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:07:44
7. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:08:25
8. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:08:27
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:11:55
10. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:12:09
Overall Standings after Stage 3:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 8:03:44 hrs
2. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:07:27
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:07:41
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:10:52
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:14:16
6. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:22:04
7. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:29:40
8. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:31:33
9. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:38:11
10. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:46:56
-- Team HRC
Three stages of the Morocco Rally completed, and three wins for the Honda CRF450 RALLY in the bag. Joan Barreda came in first today and retakes top-spot on the overall leaderboard. TEAM HRC team-mate Sam Sunderland ran the fourth fastest time and Paulo Gonçalves finished sixth and is second in the overall standings.
Joan 'Bang Bang' Barreda once again proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with. The Spanish rider appeared to be at ease even on such a navigationally tricky stage as today’s. Erg Cheggaga and Lago Iriki gave him the chance to really put the Honda CRF450 RALLY through its paces. The rider from Castellón thus takes back the top position on the leaderboard. British rider Sam Sunderland too, was pleased to be back in the dunes, finishing in a fine fourth position which keeps him in fifth overall place after three days of racing.
Portuguese Paulo Gonçalves had his work cut out as he started the special from the front, but in spite of this was able to finish in good sixth place. Gonçalves is now second in the overall standings.
TEAM HRC has once again kept its components up in the top eight overall positions, with Argentine Javier Pizzolito putting in a fine performance in eighth place and Hélder Rodrigues ninth, penalized with an fifteen place start after an electrical problem yesterday, which saw him forced to overtake various riders amidst the heavy dust that they were generating.
Joan Barreda 1st 2:43'57 TEAM HRC
"It’s incredible to get a third win for Honda in this rally. We are really pleased. Today has been a very important day for us and we’ve made up a lot of time. Especially for Paulo who had an excellent stage, and who’s doing extremely well looking to win the championship."
Sam Sunderland 4th +4'43 TEAM HRC
"It’s been a great day. Fortunately for me it was with the dunes which is what I like. There were some very fast zones and I had to be really careful in the last few kilometres, which were very dangerous with a lot of dust. The bike is going really well and I’m pleased as it’s getting better and better. This is very positive for the coming Dakar."
Paulo Goncalves 6th +7'44 TEAM HRC
"I’m very happy with today’s special. I opened the way for the whole day with 70 km off-road and 50 km of dunes, setting the pace with a good speed. Tomorrow will be a stage to try and make up some time. The bike has been incredible. I’ve been amazed at its performance in the race so far and it just keeps getting better and better."
Javier Pizzolito 7th +8'25 TEAM HRC
"It’s been a nice third stage, with a lot of sand and navigation, the way I like it. At first there was a lot of dust but I don’t think that it set me back very much. I had a good stage near Caselli and I think that it’s been good stage on the whole."
Helder Rodrigues 8th +8'27 TEAM HRC
"A very dusty, but a good stage. I started from behind and had to stay back there for about 50 km unable to overtake for all the dust. Later I picked up the pace a bit but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do a very good special. Tomorrow I start from behind, but I’ll try and make up some time."
-- KTM Report
Red Bull KTM factory rider Marc Coma came home in fifth place after the three hour ride in the dunes of Mhamid in Stage Three of the OilLibya Rally of Morocco on Wednesday to maintain his third overall position at the half way mark of the rally.
While factory teammate Chaleco Lopez of Chile finished second in Stage Three, Coma was fifth, just over six minutes behind leader and fellow Spaniard Joan Barreda. KTM’s three-times Dakar Rally winner currently has a deficit of around seven minutes in the overall progressive standings behind the leader Barreda and Portuguese rival Paolo Goncalves.
It was a disappointing day for Coma’s teammate Ruben Faria who after a decision made jointly by the rider and the team, withdrew from the competition. Faria broke his hand in a crash in the Dos Sertoes Rally in Brazil in August and is still experiencing pain from the injury. Teammate Kurt Caselli fared better finishing tenth in Stage Three and is currently twelfth overall after picking up a 20 minute penalty on the opening day. KTM support rider Ben Grabham, riding for KTM Australia was twelfth on Wednesday and continues to maintain a strong overall ninth. Riaan van Niekerk, KTM factory rider from South Africa moved up one place in the overall standings to fifteenth place after Stage Three.
Wednesday’s stage included a 250km selective sector between two liaisons of 65 and 98 km. Riders started out on a fast rolling track before descending into a valley to follow the Cheggaga sand plains as far a the flat areas around Lake Iriki. The return trip posed tricky navigation through spectacular dune landscape.
The rally is also the final round of the World Cross Countries Rallies Championship and Coma is the current points leader but has only a narrow three-point lead over Goncalves for the 2013 world title. The KTM Factory Team are also testing and fine tuning the new KTM 450 Rally factory bike, making its first competitive appearance in Morocco and making the final preparations for the 2014 Dakar Rally in January.
Stage Four presents a longer 295 km selective sector in between two shorter liaisons of 49 and 17km respectively. Riders can expect plenty of navigation in a sea of sand and an ascent to Erfoud, just the kind of territory that Coma names as his favorite.
-- Tomorrow - Stage 4
Stage 4 : On the tracks of The Mummy
Liaison : 49km
Selective sector : 295km
Liaison : 17km
Sand, always sand for the most beautiful stage of the Rally. No crossing planned for this 4th stage, but a lot of navigation in an idyllic setting. Competitors will leave Zagora’s region to Erfoud, crossing beautiful tracks with heavy navigation. The highlight of this leg is the crossing of wonderful sandy passes. After crossing the road after CP3, competitors will climb to Erfoud where they will be able to admire the famous site where The Mummy movies were set.
-- OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013 - Stage 2, Jbel en Jbel, 298 km in total,
240 km Special stage
-- Goncalves wins second stage of the OiLibya Morocco Rally on HRC Honda
After the inaugural victory of Joan Barreda at the opening stage in Morocco on Monday, it was the turn of his teammate Paulo Goncalves today to show his ambitions. The Portuguese claimed the stage win and captured the overall lead. Both Speedbrain-managed riders are now heading the overall standings, in front of Marc Coma in third position.
Paulo Goncalves: "It was a rather difficult day today in the mountains of Zagora, and tricky navigation to overcome. I had a good start, found a good rhythm in the endless rocky sections, and my new Honda CRF450 Rally worked also in these conditions extremely well. I feel very confident now, and I am happy for my team to deliver my first stage victory."
Joan Barreda: "Today was not easy to open the stage in first position, but it went all well, so I am happy I did not lose too much time, having secured a good starting position for tomorrow. My bike worked awesome, the settings we are able to improve every day. Congratulations to Paulo!"
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager: "The rally could not have started any better. Two stage victories and both of our riders lead the overall classification, that is a nice reward for the hard work and good preparation of Honda and Speedbrain."
Provisional Results Stage 2:
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) 2:50:22 hrs
2. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:02:00
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:02:09
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:02:51
5. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:03:45
6. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:06:31
7. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:06:52
8. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:07:01
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:09:19
10. Ruben Faria (PRT, KTM) 00:09:37
Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 2:
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) 5:19:30 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:00:17
3. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:01:41
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:08:40
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:09:50
6. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:13:56
7. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:18:02
8. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:18:56
9. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:22:25
10. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:22:38
TOMORROW STAGE - Stage 3 : Under the sun of Mahmid
Liaison : 65km
Selective sector: 250km
Liaison : 98km
Back in the sand! The Cheggaga erg will be the playground of this third stage where co-pilots will have to keep an eye on the caps. The start will be on a rolling, fast track before the competitors descend into the valley via a simple but uneven track. On a sandy and undulated track, they will follow the Cheggaga Erg to reach Lake Iriki. Amateurs of speed will enjoy this fast portion on the lake, but co-pilots should keep an eye on their notes in order to reach the most Westerly point of the rally. The return takes place at the cap in order to cross the chott and access the dunes. Those who like the sand will be delighted! As these are the most beautiful dunes of the rally. Pilots must follow the caps to escape the erg via beautiful easy tracks with many parallels to reach the finish.
-- HRC Report - A terrific Paulo Gonçalves on the Honda CRF450 RALLY takes the Stage and the Leadership
TEAM HRC continues to lead the Morocco Rally. In a 298 km second stage, including 240 against the clock, 'Speedy' Gonçalves carved out an amazing victory that places hims at the top of the leaderboard. The other TEAM HRC riders put in fine performances too, with Sam Sunderland third and Joan Barreda in fifth.
Another day, another type of rally. After the sand and dunes of yesterday’s opening stage, today saw an entire day of rocky mountain terrain with a lot of navigation. Joan Barreda started out first and rode a fine race, although this allowed the other riders to follow his tracks and thus gain time. His colleague TEAM HRC rider Paulo Gonçalves, seemed at ease on his Honda CRF450 RALLY and kept up the consistency in the first leg, before pushing hard in the later stages. Around Zagora he was practically unbeatable. Gonçalves finds himself leading in the overall standings after two days of rally.
British rider Sam Sunderland also put in a fine performance, overcoming a slight navigational error early on in the special and finishing in third. Joan Barreda’s fifth place leaves him behind Gonçalves in the overall standings. A good all-round team effort.
The tough rocky terrain suited much less Argentine Javier Pizzolito, who is looking forward again to the sand and dunes, where he hopes to better today’s seventh place.
Finally, Hélder Rodrigues, who set out from fourth position suffered an electronic failure some fifteen km from the end of the stage.
Paulo Goncalves 1st 2:50'22 TEAM HRC
"It was a mountain and rocky stage with a lot of navigation. I think I did well trying to stay on course. The Honda CRF450 RALLY never ceases to amaze me. In the hard terrain the traction is very important and it’s been great to see how it handles the curves. Let’s see how the next four days play out in this tough rally."
Sam Sunderland 3rd +2'09 TEAM HRC
"A very tough one today with loads of navigation and a lot of rocks. I kept up a great speed until the end after I had a small error near the start. I lost a little time but after was able to push hard. I navigated well and I’m happy."
Joan Barreda 5th +3'45 TEAM HRC
"I’m very pleased. Having two fast riders like Marc and Paulo behind pushing all day, means that I’ve got to be happy with the result. There was a lot of difficult navigation and I had to mark out the route up front. Tomorrow I start behind them so hopefully I’ll catch up and we can stay together."
Javier Pizzolito 7th +6'52 TEAM HRC
"We’ve finished a really hard, complicated stage with a lot of rocks. I’m getting used to that type of terrain now. It’s been a very positive stage and the idea was to not lose time. I think if I keep up this pace I should be able to make it up among the leaders."
-- Speedbrain Report - Speedbrain riders moving forward in Morocco
The second stage of the OiLibya Morocco Rally awaited the riders with technical difficulties in the Zagora mountains. Twisty sections and demanding mountain passes challenged the field as well as faster sections inbetween - all that against the scenery backdrop of the Morroccan countryside.
The Speedbrain trio of Alessandro Botturi (Italy), Jeremias Israel (Chile) und Juan Carlos Salvatierra (Bolivia) rode their Bavarian rally machines safely to the finish of the stage, with Botturi improving to seventh place in the overall classification. The Italian initially wanted to attack some more, but he struggled for a while to get past Alain Duclos in the dust.
"Chavo" Salvatierra had a decent outing, yet had to overcome a close call along the way. The fine-working suspension of his Speedbrain 450 Rally actually saved his day when the Bolivian didn´t see a hole in front of him. Jeremias Israel began very quick and was placed seventh at the first checkpoint. The former Motocross ace lost some time later on due to navigation matters. Israel nevertheless keeps impressing with a steep learning curve.
-- OiLibya Rally Morocco 2013 - Stage 1, Sand of Cheggaga, 345 km in total, 203
km Special stage
-- Inaugural win for HRC Honda and Barreda
Joan Barreda and Paulo Goncalves enjoy a perfect beginning of the OiLibya Rally in Morocco. Barreda wins the opening day, taking the first-ever stage victory aboard the brand new Honda CRF450 Rally. His HRC Honda teammate Goncalves rounds out the podium in third. World championship rival Marc Coma, on his new KTM rally machine, finishes between the two Iberians as runner-up, only a few seconds ahead of Goncalves.
Unofficial Results Stage 1:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 2:25:40 hrs
2. Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:03:09
3. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:03:28
4. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:06:13
5. Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:09:17
6. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:10:32
7. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:11:09
8. Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:11:53
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain Rally Team) +00:12:11
10. Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:18:52
11. Ben Grabham, Australia, KTM, 22.21
-- Team HRC Report - Joan Barreda claims victory on the new Honda CRF450 RALLY
'Bang Bang' Barreda made a spectacular come-back to the World Championship, with a win in the first stage of the Morocco Rally after setting a cracking pace from start to finish. An awesome victory for the Honda CRF450 RALLY which also saw five of its riders finish in the top seven on the day. Paulo Gonçalves and Hélder Rodrigues came in third and fourth, while Javier Pizzolito and Sam Sunderland finished sixth and seventh.
Nobody, least of all, Joan Barrera, was prepared to hold back in this, the first of the Morocco Rally. The Spanish rider clearly set out to win. In spite of a slight initial error early on whilst crossing the Cheggaga dunes, the rider from Castellón clocked up the fastest times and finished the fastest overall, over three minutes ahead of the second place rival.
Paulo Goncalves headed off from a good starting position, although he had a tough job with the amount of dust generated by riders up ahead. In spite of this, he was able to keep up a fine pace, getting on extremely well with the CRF450 RALLY, and finishing in third, thus proving that the new bike is a force to be reckoned with.
After the first way-point there were three HRC riders, Barreda, Rodrigues and Goncalves, in the first three places. Given that we are only in the first of six stages of the Morocco Rally, Hélder Rodrigues decided not to take any risks. The Portuguese rider scored the fourth fastest time of the day at 6'13” from the winner Barreda.
Team HRC Argeninian rider Javier Pizzolito, finished in sixth place, and also had nothing but praise for the hardware that took him there. Pizzolito put in a very reliable performance, since his starting position also meant that he had to put up with a lot of the dust generated by the riders ahead. Sam Sunderland also put in a good performance without too much loss of time. He finished 11'09” behind Barreda, just 30 seconds after Pizzolito.
Joan Barreda 1st 2:25'40 Team HRC
"The truth is that I’m very pleased with the opening stage, and although there is still a long way to go, I managed to keep up a good rhythm and only made a slight mistake in the dunes. I had to go back one kilometre, but I was lucky enough that the arrow on the GPS opened up right away. After I was able to set a good steady pace."
Paulo Goncalves 2nd +03'09 Team HRC
"I had to ride in a lot of difficulty but at times being behind helped me out. The most important thing today was to make it through, and build confidence for the next few days. I’ve got to say that I’m really thrilled with the new CRF450 RALLY which went perfectly. I love this bike more and more every day. It really hit it off and I’m sure that it go well in the next couple of stages."
Helder Rodrigues 4rt +06'13 TEAM HRC
"Today was the first day of rally and I think that it’s gone really well until now. I pushed hard, but not only because it was the first day. The great thing is that I didn’t lose too much time with the first riders, but I think that I did a great job of finishing in a good overall position."
Javier Pizzolito 6th +10'32 TEAM HRC
"I’m very happy with the first stage. The bike gave me some really good sensations. It really has a superior mechanics to the previous one, and I’m sure we can do something with this. I’m getting used to the race, the bike and I hope to finish in a good position."
Sam Sunderland 7th +11'09 Team HRC Rally
"I had a good day and took it quite steady in the dust. The bike worked great. I stayed safe and tried to hit my navigation good and stay out of the dust and avoid the dangers. It all went pretty good and overall I’m pretty happy."
-- KTM Report
COMA PLACED SECOND AFTER STAGE 1 OF MOROCCO RALLY
KTM factory rider Marc Coma opened his account in the OilLibya Morocco Rally on Monday with a second place finish in the stage, trailing leader Joan Barreda of Portugal by just over three minutes.
Coma is looking to seal the 2013 FIM World Cross Countries Rally Championship title at this event in Morocco, which represents the final rally of the 2013 season. He is the championship leader by a narrow three-point margin from Paolo Goncalves of Portugal and the contest is expected to be tough between these and other riders. The rally is disputed over six stages, much of it in typical sand and dunes, the preferred terrain for KTM’s three-times Dakar Rally winner.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Team are also using the rally as its final preparations and testing before the Dakar Rally in January 2014 and have unleashed the brand new KTM 450 Rally bike for the occasion. Joining Coma in Morocco are factory riders Chaleco Lopez of Chile and Ruben Faria of Portugal who finished 5 and 12. Teammate Kurt Caselli (USA) was ranked at seventeenth after the opening day after incurring a 20-minute penalty for missing a waypoint. KTM Australia's Ben Grabham was a creditable eleventh after stage one and the secodn KTM support rider, Riaan Van Niekerk of South Africa was sixteenth.
The track took riders over two liaisons of 77 km and 65 km and one selective timed sector of 203 km. They first crossed small dunes before having to navigate to Oued Draa over many parallel tracks. They then hit the first of the challenging dunes that brought them across the beautiful erg Cheggaga from southwest to northeast.
Coma said he had been satisfied with his first day on the new KTM 450 Rally bike in real competition saying: “In principle it seems like everything is going according to plan. Now we must focus on finding the bike’s limits and work to further develop this. We did a good job today in a stage that was quite complicated and in which navigation was very important. Tomorrow is a completely different. There will be a lot of stones and it will be very technical and physically demanding. We must be very focused.”
KTM Factory Team manager Alex Doringer said it had been a good first day of the rally with the new bike. “We are very satisfied with Marc’s ride in second place and we had no technical problems at all with the new bike,” he said adding that Ruben Faria is still having some problems with his hand, which he broke contesting the Dos Sertoes Rally in Brazil several months ago. “Chaleco (Lopez) took it easy today and we are happy with his position after the first stage but Kurt Caselli, our rookie team member made a navigational mistake and missed a waypoint. It is a learning process for him.” Caselli was the replacement rider for the injured Marc Coma in the 2013 edition of the Dakar Rally but is now part of the official factory team.
The rally is made up of six stages and tomorrow riders tackle a liaison of 49 km, a selective sector o 240 km and another short liaison of nine km as they travel in a circular route from Jbel to Jbel.
-- Speedbrain Report - Speedbrain riders battle the dust, Botturi lying ninth after stage one
The Speedbrain trio of Alessandro Botturi (Italy), Jeremias Israel (Chile) und Juan Carlos Salvatierra (Bolivia) rode well through the dunes of Cheggaga and can be satisfied with their first day at the OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013. The bikes worked fine and all three riders finished the first of six stages inside the Top 20.
The opener was tricky in terms of navigation. Israel started with a storming speed and close to the front runners. But the Speedbrain newcomer then experienced some problems with his navigation device. Botturi meanwhile rode a smart and tactical stage. Not risiking too much, the Italian crossed the finish line behind a group with Paulo Goncalves as one of the main contenders. Botturi was rewarded with ninth place in the provisional classification.
Bolivia´s Salvatierra delivered a steady performance. "Chavo" and Israel battled with dust for most of the day, because the starting order gave them a bit of a disadvantage. They will now be better off when stage two begins on Tuesday morning.
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