Team HRC won another stage of the Sealine Rally in Qatar today and this time it was defending World Champion Paulo Goncalves’ turn to lead the way, the Portuguese rider winning the 250-mile fourth stage to gain valuable ground in the overall standings.
The pack is chasing Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma in the overall standings, but it’s close at the top as HRC’s Joan Barreda is just 41 seconds behind the Spanish legend. Coma ended today’s stage in fourth place with Barreda, the overall leader after yesterday’s stage, ending up fifth.
Coma’s KTM teammate Jordi Viladoms ended today second – one minute and 58 seconds behind Goncalves. Helder Rodrigues, the third factory Honda rider, was third today.
With his runner-up finish in today’s stage, Viladoms is third, one minute and 52 seconds behind his teammate Coma, in the overall standings.
Tomorrow sees the final stage of the Sealine Cross-Country Rally, with some 225 miles against he clock. The race will finish where it started – in Umm Sa’id.
“I had a really good race day,” Goncalves said. “I won the stage but more important is the time that I pulled back from my adversaries after the mistake with the navigation on the first day. My focus is to be on the podium at the end of the rally. But we have to keep our eye on the target and stay focused, because tomorrow we have 270 kms still to race and it's easy to slip up and make a mistake, so we'll wait and see what happens.”
Barreda will go into tomorrow’s final stage with a chance to win the rally.
“We had a good day today,” Barreda said. “We finished in fifth. I started out opening the way and after a few kms Marc [Coma] caught me up. The stage went according to plan, in fact, everything has gone the way that we hoped. Very good. I'm very pleased. Tomorrow we will try to stay focused and be careful with the navigation to try and catch up with Marc and win the rally.”