Dakar 2012, Stage 4 San Juan – Chilecito 714 km in total, 326 km special test
Goncalves gains ground
Paulo Goncalves finished today´s Dakar stage in fifth position.
The Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain rider gained valuable time against his closest rivals, as everyone endured a long and difficult test through the Rioja canyons.
Goncalves started the day as third and quickly found his rhythm. He had race leader Cyril Despres in sight around the 80 km mark, but made a navigation error at a difficult waypoint when he momentarily lost concentration. This mistake costed the Portuguese almost ten minutes. Keeping up his front-runner speed, Goncalves afterwards rode together with Marc Coma, Helder Rodrigues and Frans Verhoeven until the end of the stage – the closing kilometres through a muddy river bed.
“More would have been possible today,” he said. “I´m mad at myself having made the mistake. It´s positive though that I found and kept a good rhythm. The bike worked flawlessly.”
Zé Hélio rode a determined stage, stayed out of trouble and used the day to improve to 16th overall. Meanwhile teammate Joan Barreda experienced a disappointing outcome. The Spaniard was lying fourth at the first checkpoint, but his rear wheel broke 70 km from the finish. Together with Jose Manuel Pellicer he eventually made it to Chilecito.
Thursday offers the white dunes of Fiambalá. Things are going to be very challenging. The riders will need a good eye and superb navigation in the 247 kilometres long special test. The connecting stage is rather short
DAKAR 2012 – 151 km
1. Marc Coma (SPA) KTM, 4:16:43 hrs
2. Cyril Despres (FRA) KTM, 2:02 min behind
3. Frans Verhoeven (NEL) Sherco, 8:26
4. Helder Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha, 9:01
5. Paulo Goncalves (POR) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 11:18
21. Zé Hélio (BRA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 30:29
62. Jose Manuel Pellicer (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 1:25:17
70. Joan Barreda (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 1:35:58
DAKAR 2012 Overall standings
1. Despres, 11:50:27 hrs
2. Coma, 8:10 min behind
3. Rodrigues, 26:48
4. Francisco Lopez (CHI) Aprilia, 29:50
6. Paulo Goncalves (POR) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 35:16
16. Zé Hélio (BRA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 1:15:57
36. Jose Manuel Pellicer (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 2:30:09
45. Joan Barreda (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, 3:00:44