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Speedbrain Rally – Paulo Goncalves remains in contention for victory going to final stages. The Speedbrain duo of Paulo Goncalves and Quinn Cody ended the third day of the Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar in second and fifth place, respectively. Goncalves, who finished behind race leader Marc Coma, was able to consolidate his runner-up position in the overall classification. Cody scored a top five result for the first time in the race and has been further getting his arms around the navigation matters.
Paulo Goncalves:“Yet another hard and long day in the Qatar desert. The course started once more in the dunes, while the middle part was fast and stoney. The second half pretty much led through the open desert, with some key navigation hurdles to overcome. I could catch the riders having started in front of me after the refuelling stop and only Coma was quicker today. I am excited how my Speedbrain 450 Rally bike keeps performing. Tomorrow are 237 kilometres left, a top result is what I´m going for.”
Quinn Cody: Today was another long fast 407km stage with LOTS of ROCKS and very tricky navigation. The stage started out with about 70km of high speed sand dunes with lots of sketchy drop offs, then onto some high speed rocky roads, the first 195km was extremely fast! I rode to the refueling at a conservative pace staying well within my comfort zone and hitting all my navigation. After the refueling I had a little scare with the GPS telling me I had missed a waypoint. I knew I hadn’t missed any but the GPS automatically advanced to km250 and I was only at km 197 this flustered me a bit because I was un sure of how to get the GPS to go back to my location, witch is bad because you cant tell if you have unlocked the correct waypoint or not, after pushing buttons for a min I got the GPS to come back to km 197. Later it turned out to be a glitch in the GPS and it happened to some other guys also, this was good experience for me because stuff like that happens sometimes and it can really screw you up if you don’t know how to correct it. From then on I nailed all the navigation through some of the trickiest stuff so far and caught up to a couple guys who started in front of me. After catching them we took turns leading but at this race it’s impossible to pull away from another rider as long as they can see you because there is SO MUCH navigation.
This whole week has been a great learning experience basically starting from scratch, first race back, new bike, new team, new desert………I need to thank Speedbrain and Monster for giving me the chance to come here and gain all this valuable experience before Dakar…….
The team wishes Pal-Anders Ullevalseter, who crashed today, a speedy and full recovery.
From KTM – Three-times Dakar winner and reigning World Rally Champion Marc Coma goes into Friday’s final stage of the Sealine Rally in Qatar with a narrow lead of just over two minutes in this compact and tight four leg race
The Sealine is the second round of the World Cross Countries Rally Championship and Coma, three times Dakar winner and reigning world champion is looking to capture his second win of the season and his second in this rally, first inaugurated in 2012.
Coma won the stage in front of Portugal’s Paolo Goncalves and Coma’s factory teammate Jakub Przygonski. The third member of the KTM team,Chaleco Lopez of Chile was fourth. These four riders also lead the overall standings going into the final day even if the main battle is shaping up to be between Coma and Goncalves. All three KTM riders are on the Dakar winning KTM 450 rally bike
Speaking from the bivouac after Thursday’s stage coma underlined that the rally continues to be very difficult. “Its very complicated, the level is very high and the navigation is very challenging. But I feel very happy because my fitness is good and I think the navigation is going very well for me. Tomorrow for the last stage I will start in front and I will try to make a gap from the other top riders.”
On Wednesday Coma had to scramble back into the reckoning after having to stop to fix a broken seat. He was in the overall lead by just three seconds at the end of the day and Goncalves continues to be his main challenger for the prize.
Riders are stationed in the desert bivouac outside of Doha and each day are on their bikes for four to five hours riding a loop circuit mostly in excess of 400 km, of which more than 98 percent is timed special. The rally concludes on Friday with a shorter 282 km stage of which 275 km is timed special and it will be a hard fought last day.
Stage 3 results:
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 4 hours 40.35
2, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Speedbrain, at 2.01
3, Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM at 6.02
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM at 8.01
5, Quinn Cody, USA, Speedbrain at 34.24