Paulo Goncalves underlined his top form on the final day of the Sardinia Rally. The Portuguese finished the closing stage from Sa Itria to San Teodoro in third place, giving him second place overall in this third round of the 2013 FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship. Goncalves has now finished all series rounds on the podium, right among the world´s very best rally racers.
Paulo improved his results with each day the race unfolded. The 34-year-old had to get used to his new Honda CRF450R, a bike that his Speedbrain team had specifically prepared for the Enduro-like terrain on the southern island.
Wednesday´s final confrontation presented the riders with the longest special stage of the whole event. It was mainly a fast affair, but again providing some Enduro elements. And it was once more important to remain concentrated and especially high alert in terms of navigation, as the competition was stacked behind race leader Marc Coma. Paulo rode smart and succcessfully defended his runner-up ranking, although he´s often rather seen as a desert fox and not so much as an Enduro specialist…
Paulo Goncalves: “I am obviously delighted to finish runner-up in this race. The terrain here at Sardinia usually isn´t my preferred enviromnent, but my Speedbrain team gave me a perfect bike. My regards to them, they did a great job in a very short amount of time. We all share this success!”
There is not much time to rest for Goncalves, the next world championship round in Argentina is right around the corner. This time back to more of a classic desert rally.
Final Stage - Paulo Goncalves - Speedbrain Rally Team - Sardegna Rally Race - Credit - speedbrain / www.speedbrain.de
Results Stage 5:
1. Botturi (ITA, Yamaha) 3:39:34 hrs
2. Pedrero Garzia (ESP, Beta) +00:01:22
3. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:02:15
4. Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:02:25
5. Mancini (ITA, Beta)Miquel (FRA, Yamaha) +00:02:58
Final Standings after Stage 5:
1. Coma (ESP, KTM) 15:54:20 hrs
2. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:07:05
3. Pedrero Garzia (ESP, Beta) +00:07:16
4. Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:07:27
5. Botturi (ITA, Yamaha) +00:07:40