From KTM – Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma on Saturday won the Rally dos Sertoes in Brazil by a margin of three minutes 23 second after seven hard fought stages. The win consolidates Coma’s lead in the FIM World Cross Country Rally Championship in the fifth of six rounds.
Coma, a Red Bull athlete won the rally from Paolo Goncalves of Portugal while Brazilian rider Joan Azevedo took the minor podium place. Red KTM’s Spanish rider took three stage wins and led the overall standings from the end of Stage One to the finish.
The rally was particularly tight but on Thursday Coma had finally edged ahead of Goncalves by a margin of seven minutes. He then had to open the track on the penultimate stage on Friday and his margin of lead dropped to four minutes. Friday, Coma said, was the key to the rally, a stage that required particular attention, as it was the second half of the marathon stage. At the end of Stage Six he said it had been important to control the race and deploy conservative tactics, because navigation was difficult.
Coma finished second in the final stage but maintained the advantage in the overall standings, proving that conquering the event was not just about riding fast but also about riding smart.
Marc Coma:“Today was a long had day, especially with the pressure of being in the lead. This is a very hard rally to win and the level of the riders is very high. Paolo (Goncalves) was pushing all the time so I’m very happy with the final results. I came into the rally with a lead of 10 points in the World Championship and it will be good to go to the final round in Morocco with a bigger cushion. Morocco is a very hard rally and we know that anything can happen there. It will be good to be going with confidence after this win.”
Coma has only won the Rally dos Sertoes on one other occasion, in 2010.
KTM factory rider and Coma’s teammate Jordi Viladoms of Spain rode a solid rally to finish fifth overall, some 26 minutes 37 off the winning pace. Britain’sSam Sunderland, the factory team rookie finished sixth at 33.37, including a one-minute penalty. The third factory rider, Portugal’s Ruben Faria was eighth overall trailing by 46.36, including a 13-minute penalty and finished on a high note with a fourth place in the final stage. French KTM rider David Casteu finished ninth overall to give KTM five in the top 10.
From Honda – Paulo Goncalves finishes the Sertoes in second place after winning a new stage victory
Paulo Goncalves and Team HRC put in yet another fine performance, in this, the fifth race of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship held in Brazil. The Rally dos Sertoes ended with a victory for the Honda CRF450 RALLY rider, who has won five of the eight specials disputed.
It was good work all round in the Brazilian Rally dos Sertoes from Team HRC, as Paulo Goncalves – last year’s winner- took second place, in a competition in which he waged a constant daily battle for each stage, always making life difficult for the eventual winner.
The seventh and final stage of the Rally dos Sertoes was held between Diamantina and Belo Horizonte, with an initial link of just over 54 kilometres. The route of the 125 kilometre special took in rutted tracks, several river crossings, and a fair share of pot-holes. There was even a bit of trial as the route zigzagged its way up a hillside, before straightening out into faster stretches. The arrival in Belo Horizonte, the capital of the Minas Gerais region brings the twentieth edition of the Rally dos Sertoes to a close.
Paulo ‘Speedy’ Goncalves began the final day in search of victory, perhaps recalling last year’s editon in which he took the title. The rider set a cracking pace and once again, won the special, his fifth win in this Sertoes (four stages and the prologue), proving that both he, and the Honda CRF450 RALLY, are once again, highly competitive.
Team HRC team-mate Helder Rodrigues finished in a respectable fourth place, after local boy Jean Azevedo, from Honda Brazil, had spent a week demonstrating his competitiveness and succeeded in pipping his Honda rival to the third podium place.
Final overall results after Stage Seven 1, Coma, KTM 18 hours 21.51 (overall win to extend lead in 2014 World Championship)
2, Goncalves at 3 minutes 23
3, Azevedo at 14.05
4, Rodrigues at 21.46
5, Viladoms, KTM, at 26.37
6, Sunderland, KTM at 33.37 (1 minute penalty)
8, Faria, KTM at 46.36 (13 minutes penalty)
9, Casteu, KTM at 47.35 (6 minutes penalty)