Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) climbed to eighth place in the Dakar rally in the all-terrain rally, after a sixth place in the fourth stage, between Arequipa and Moquegua, in Peru.
The Portuguese rider spent 3: 54.06 hours to complete the 405 kilometres timed out of a total of 511 kilometres, finishing at 13.36 minutes of the winner of the race, the American Ricky Brabec, his teammate at Honda. With today’s victory, Brabec is the new leader in the bikes, taking advantage of the 20 minutes delay of the previous leader, the Chilean Pablo Quintanilha (Husqvarna), that had to open the track.
For Paulo Gonçalves, the objective was fulfilled: “Today was a special with 400 kilometres, where the scenery changed, we only had the first scenarios with dunes, everything else was clued. In the last 50 kilometres, we caught a river with a lot of stone, which was very dangerous. My goal was to get to this first part of the marathon stage without problems, to not have to work on the mechanics and recover the physical.
The Esposende rider hopes to “finish without problems” the fifth stage, which will connect Monquegua to Arequipa, with a total of 776 kilometres and a special time of 345 kilometres, “to be able to reach the day of rest and recover physically.” The Portuguese are in the eighth position, at 20.45 minutes of the team-mate.
Mário Patrão (KTM) repeated the 23rd place of the day, 28.58 minutes of the winner of the run.
“I made my step in a more cautious timbre, to avoid wear and tear that this Friday can be crucial in the 800 kilometres that await us”, explained the pilot of Seia, who lost a position, falling to 21st.
Sebastian Buhler (Yamaha) was the 27th, with Joaquim Rodrigues Jr. (Hero) in 30th and António Maio (Yamaha) in 33rd. David Megre (KTM) was 54th and Miguel Caetano 87th. Fausto Mota (Husqvarna) had a breakdown in the frame of his motorcycle in the middle of the special and lost a lot of time to repair it, finishing in the 100th position, already at 3: 16.08 hours of the winner.
In general, Quim Rodrigues Jr. is 31st, Bühler 33rd and May 34th.
In cars, victory smiled at Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), which thus extended the lead over the second, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (MINI) in 1.52 minutes. The Frenchman was also second in the stage today and is already at 8.55 minutes of the pilot Qatari.
The 41st edition of the all-terrain Dakar rally is disputed until January 17 entirely on Peruvian soil.