Team Honda Racing arrives in Doha with a five-point lead in the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship Manufacturers’ series over the factory Red Bull KTM team. Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves stole victory form Marc Coma on the final stage of the recent Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and he holds a three-point lead in the title race after round one.
“I was so happy to win in Abu Dhabi,” said Goncalves. “Honda has a very strong team now and we have a competitive bike, some really fast riders and we have the championship lead.”
“We know KTM has a strong team and they led in Abu Dhabi until the final day,” added Team HRC manager Wolfgang Fischer. “It was great to make that victory ours and break their long winning streak. Marc (Coma) had won there seven years in a row and KTM had won 12 years in a row and now Honda leads the championship. It makes this week in Qatar all the more exciting.”
Tomorrow (Sunday), the leading crews attend administration and scrutineering checks at Losail, before the QMMF hosts a series of three pre-event press conferences for officials, sponsors, riders and drivers from 16.00hrs. The competitive action gets underway on Monday morning (April 21st).
FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship – positions after round 1:
1. Paolo Goncalves (PRT) 20 pts
2. Marc Coma (ESP) 17pts
3. Joan Barreda-Bort (ESP) 15 pts
4. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) 13 pts
5. Miran Stanovnik (SLO) 11 pts
6. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) 10 pts
7. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) 9 pts
8. Oliver Lloyd (GBR) 8 pts, etc