Monster Energy Honda Qatar Sealine Rally Preview

Monster Energy Honda factory rally riders Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides are geared up for the 2017 Sealine Rally in Qatar.

The following is from the Monster Energy Honda Rally team, regarding this week’s Sealine Rally in Qatar, round two of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship:

Monster Energy Honda’s Paulo Goncalves hopes to improve upon his third-place finish at te Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with a win at the Qatar Sealine Rally in Qatar this week. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEAM HRC.

Monster Energy Honda Team will be back in action tomorrow (Tuesday) with the second round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship in Qatar. Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves and Argentinean Kevin Benavides line up once more for the Monster Energy Honda Team in the Qatar Sealine, the second race whose points count toward the rally raid world championship.

Gonçalves wrapped up the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship opener earlier this month in Abu Dhabi with a closely-fought fourth overall place–a result that the rider should be able to improve upon with the type of form that he is currently displaying.

“Here we are in Qatar for the second race of the season,” Gonçalves said. “After having been fourth in the first round, here I will attempt to improve on that position. We have quite a tough race ahead but the team is working well together and obviously we would like to improve on the result a bit.”

Meanwhile, his South American teammate continues to make a positive comeback after last year’s right hand injury, and even managed to put in a convincing performance in Abu Dhabi, which included a stage win. Only a mechanical issue stopped Benavides from scooping a better overall result.

“So we are back racing once again, with a lot of motivation,” Benavides said. “I feel a lot better with my hand. I was able to do a week’s training in Barcelona. I’m very motivated for this, the second round of the world championship. I hope to have a good race and not suffer too much with the hand and I will try and enjoy the experience out here, which is the first time here, so it’s all new for me.”

The team will continue with the scheduled program of testing for the Honda CRF450 RALLY with the race in the Qatar desert. The rally is well-known for its high demands, tough terrain and scorching temperatures. The Losail Circuit will host the base-camp for the Qatar Sealine competitors. Likewise, the site will host the technical and administrative checks prior to the race-start. The daily stages will also start and finish from the circuit. The race itself will begin with a Super Special of just over 5.6 kilometres. Before the rally is over riders will have had to tackle a total 2000 kilometres including 1373.82 against the clock.

Stage Date Total KM KM Special
Super Special 18 April 5.64 12.09
Stage 2 19 April 334.08 483.34
Stage 3 20 April 353.02 504
Stage 4 21 April 337.76 461.89
Stage 5 22 April 343.32 532.85