Another complicated day in Fiambalá where the Monster Energy Honda Team colours shone in the immensity of the Argentine desert. Stage three of the Desafío Ruta 40 saw victory for Paulo Gonçalves and third place for Ricky Brabec.
The fastest rider of the day was again Paulo Gonçalves, eating almost three minutes into the lead of Pablo Quintanilla, the main rival for overall victory. The Portuguese Monster Energy Honda Team rider retakes the head of the overall leader board with a 1’13” advantage over the Chilean.
It proved a good stage for Ricky Brabec. Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider occupied third position some 5’10” adrift of his team-mate. Ricky is now sixth overall and will battle over the coming days to improve on this overall result.
Tomorrow, Thursday, sees the fourth stage, with the longest special of the race at 357.55 kilometres out of a total of 514.43. The action takes place between Tinogasta and Villa Union in the northwest of the province of La Rioja. The main characteristic of the day will be high mountain tracks at almost 4000 metres above sea level, some of which are in very poor shape. Riders will need their wits about them to avoid some of the potential hazards in the roadbook. .
Paulo Goncalves 4 – STAGE: 1ST OVERALL: 1ST
Today I started out fourth and I was able to take advantage of the starting position. So I tried to close in on those who were up ahead and I was able to catch them before the special was cut short around kilometre 130. It went pretty well and the bike performed great. Tomorrow I will have to open the track. I will try to do my best and not lose much time in order to get to the final day with chances of winning the race. I arrived here to try to regain my pace after a long period without activity and I am happy because I am improving day by day.
Today started off slow for me. We were trying to regroup from all the events of yesterday. I just want to make it through to the end of the rally. Today was really trial-riding pace and lots of sand, which is not really my forte. Anyway, I made it to the end of the special in third place. It’s pretty crazy to think that I wasn’t really pushing and managed to finish third. We will have to just keep pushing hard over the next few days.
Source Monster Energy Honda Team