Gonçalves and Monster Energy Honda Team ready to roll in the Morocco Rally2017-10-03 08:40
Monster Energy Honda Team line up Gonçalves, Benavides, Brabec and Metge to tackle the forthcoming OiLibya Morocco, the fifth and final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship scheduled for 4th-10th October. The event will be the final rehearsal ahead of the 2018 Dakar Rally.
Monster Energy Honda Team have barely paused for breath since re-starting racing activities in June. After successful campaigns in the Baja Aragón, the Atacama Rally, the Vegas to Reno, the Desafío Ruta 40 and the Baja Inka 1000, the month of October brings a new challenge with the tough Morocco Rally.
Paulo Gonçalves, Kevin Benavides, Ricky Brabec and Michael Metge make up the squad who will defend the Monster Energy Honda Team colours over the six days of racing in North Africa. The event also marks the final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship calendar which will be held between Fez and Erfoud.
Date Stage Liaison1 Special Liaison 2
Thursday 5 October Super Special 23.14km 12.16km 19.04km
Friday 6 October Fes-Erfoud 340.08km 272.8km 242.25km
Saturday 7 October Erfoud-Erfoud 14.18km 364.5km 10.26km
Sunday 8 October Erfoud-Erg Lihoudi 17.8km 254.75km 180.36km
Monday 9 October Erg Lihoudi-Erfoud – 170.88km 20.7km
Tuesday 10 October Erfoud-Erfoud 43.91km 163.03km 16.47km
Monster Energy Honda Team’s Paulo Gonçalves currently lies in second overall position in the world championship and is in good standing to repeat the result of 2013 when he rode to victory in the rally and clinched the world championship title. Five points separate the Portuguese rider from the current leader.
Team-mate Kevin Benavides presently holds fourth position and will go in pursuit of both an improved result as well as the kind of experience that only an event as gruelling as the OiLibya Morocco Rally can provide. Ricky Brabec and Michael Metge, likewise, arrive at the rally looking to gain experience while supporting the other two riders who have continually been in the running for the championship.
We have arrived at one of the toughest races of the year ahead of the Dakar. Morocco is always a difficult race that tests everyone and if we want to achieve the goal which we think is within reach. It will be crucial not to make any mistakes. That’s why we have been training hard and preparing the race so much recently - so that we get it right.
This will be the last race of the year before the Dakar and I think that after the way things have been going this season, we are here in very good shape. We should be able to take advantage of the chance that has presented itself after the great results achieved in the Atacama and Ruta 40 rallies. However, I think the most important thing is to stay focused to run a race without making any mistakes.
We hope that the Morocco Rally will be good for both me and the team. For my part I will try to continue acquiring more experience in navigation in a rally that I know is both very complicated and demanding. The important thing, more than the final result, will be to finish in one piece and with good sensations before we face the Dakar in the best possible conditions.
The Morocco Rally has been one of the races that I’ve wanted to compete in most over recent years, but because of setbacks I’ve never had the pleasure of doing so. This time I think I'm in a great shape. I think the team's objective will be to play a good role, getting more experience under the belt and continue working on the reliability of the Honda CRF450 RALLY before we finally reach the Dakar.
Monster Energy Honda Team Manager
This Morocco Rally marks the end of our preparation for the Dakar. We will participate with a four-rider set-up to be able to simulate to the maximum what we did in the Ruta 40, so that we can tackle the main event that Monster Energy Honda Team will face in the rally calendar that gets underway in January. We hope to finish with a good result, but rather than just trying to get a good final position, the most important thing for us will be to finish this long "pre-season" without any setbacks for the team while trying to enjoy the event without too much pressure.
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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