Paulo Goncalves – “I had to give it my all”
Paulo Goncalves has won the OiLybia Morocco Rally – final round of the FIM Cross Country World Championship – and taken the world title from his arch rival Marc Coma, the defending champion.
“I’m over the moon to clinch the title at the final race for Speedbrain. We’ve shown before at the previous five races that we have the winning speed everywhere,” told Goncalves.
“Speedy” Goncalves aboard his HRC Honda and KTM pilot Coma produced a nail-biter on the closing 219 kilometre long special stage, with the lead and therefore the virtual title outcome changing several times.
In the end, after one of the most dramatic finishes in the recent history of raid rally racing, Goncalves prevailed by winning the rally – and capturing his first-ever world championship.
“The team has always done a great job and we were able to keep the title fight open with our Speedbrain bike against defending champion Marc Coma all the way until this week’s final showdown.”
The Portuguese finished the closing stage in fifth position – one place ahead of Coma – sealing the crown by 3:50 minutes over his Spanish competitor.
“I began the final stage with a very small advantage and managed to keep it. It was a super narrow title decider – I had to give it all. Many thanks to Speedbrain and to Honda for the brilliant bike, also to my friend and teammate Joan Barreda for his perfect team play.”
On the day it was Australian Ben Grabham that recorded his debut stage win with victory on stage six. Helder Rodrigues (Honda) was second with KTM’s Kurt Caselli third.
Results – Stage 6:
1. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) 2:26:39 hrs
2. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:01:18
3. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:02:41
4. Jeremias Israel (CHL, Speedbrain) +00:03:00
5. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:04:56
6. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:08:26
7. Frans Verhoeven (NLD, Yamaha) +00:11:06
8. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +00:16:40
9. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:17:14
10. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:18:35
Overall Results OiLibya Rally Morocco 2013:
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) 17:08:59 hrs
2. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:03:44
3. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:07:39
4. Chaleco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:32:58
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:45:57
6. Ben Grabham (AUS, KTM) +00:55:08
7. Kurt Caselli (USA, KTM) +01:04:32
8. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +01:06:09
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain) +01:08:58
10. Frans Verhoeven (NLD, Yamaha) +01:41:38