After nine long stages, the 21st edition of the Rally dos Sertões in Brazil came to an end yesterday with the riders’ arrival in Goiania after some 2500 miles. No one arrived happier than Speedbrain 450’s Paulo Goncalves, the Portuguese rider taking the overall win with a time of 30 hours, 27 minutes and 38 seconds over the course of 10 days.
That was 25 minutes ahead of Yamaha’s Cyril Despres, the two-time winner of the Brazilian rally finishing second. Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma was third after winning the final stage from Goianesia to Goiania.
Coma beat Despres in the final stage by six seconds. Goncalves crossed the line third and that was all the 34 year old needed to claim the overall win in what was his second attempt in the Brazilian rally.
Gonçalves, who was born in the small town of Esposende, in the District of Braga, north of Portugal, won three stages and the prologue, taking the lead for the first time in the seventh stage.
“I have a positive evaluation of the rally,” Goncalves said. “It was very hard, 10 intense days, lots of fighting, especially Jalapão with lots of sand, heat and a 10-hour special. I started well and fought for the victory. I didn’t make mistakes and ended up wining with a larger gap than I imagined. I’m very happy for me and Speedbrain. I raced my first Sertões two years ago, and now we came back and won. We are very pleased, and now will keep on the good work.
“I have three second places in the World Championship, and this is my first victory. We’re now going to the last stage in Egypt, and try another good result.”