Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides both posted podium finishes at the end of a lengthy special stage on day two of the Qatar Rally as the first differences in the field begin to emerge.

It was a tough day out for the Monster Energy Honda Team riders who had to face a long, gruelling slog through the Qatari desert. With more than 330 kilometres of complicated special stage to face, it turned out to be a day for the more proficient navigators of the field. Paulo Gonçalves and Kevin Benavides set off this morning amid the first half of the starting order, which had been decided in yesterday’s Super Special stage. The duo managed to keep a strong pace over the entire course of the day.

Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves had a trouble-free stage aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLY on a day that left very little margin for error. Paulo posted the day’s second best time and now lies in second place in the general standings too.

Monster Energy Honda Team companion, Argentinean Kevin Benavides, maintained a similar rhythm to his Portuguese team-mate to finish the special a minute and a half behind.

Tomorrow, Thursday, sees the longest day of the competition. The odometer will be signalling 503 kilometres by the close of the day, which will include some 353 km against the clock.

Paulo Goncalves

Paulo Goncalves

The first full stage of the Qatar Rally had a first part with a lot of stony track and a final part with 40 kilometres of dunes. I think that I did quite well as the navigation was really difficult and as a consequence I decided to take things a bit easier in order to not make any mistakes. It went well and later I was able to pick the speed up a bit. I’m very happy and now let’s start the preparations for the stage tomorrow.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Kevin Benavides

Kevin Benavides

I’m happy. I started out well with some great sensations in my hand. At kilometre 50 I stopped to sort out some minor issue, but was able to continue and push hard right up until the end. The stage was really tough for the navigation, with rocky track and some dunes in the final section. I enjoyed it a lot and finished in third place overall. Tomorrow I will have to push hard.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Qatar Cross-Country Rallye

Qatar, Qatar

Rally 2017, Round 2

Wednesday 19 Apr 2017, 16:07 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Sam Sunderland GBR 0 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 3:43'21
2 Paulo Goncalves POR 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'25
3 Kevin Benavides ARG 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +10'48
4 Pablo Quintanilla 4 CHI 0 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +12'34
5 Pierre-Alexandre Renet FRA 0 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +13'12
6 Mathias Walkner AUT 0 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +16'07
7 Antoine Meo FRA 0 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +36'37
8 Maciej Giemza POL 0 KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM +52'38
9 Mohammed Albalooshi UAE 0 Ride to Abu Dhabi Team KTM +55'13
10 Adam Tomiczek POL 0 KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM +1:23'13
Tuesday 18 Apr 2017, 16:33 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Antoine Meo FRA 0 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 4'31.90
2 Mathias Walkner AUT 0 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +0'06.90
3 Sam Sunderland GBR 0 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +0'08.30
4 Pierre-Alexandre Renet FRA 0 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +0'10.90
5 Kevin Benavides ARG 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +0'14.70
6 Paulo Goncalves POR 0 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +0'16.20
7 Pablo Quintanilla 4 CHI 0 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +0'28.10
8 Adam Tomiczek POL 0 KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM +0'39.90
9 Maciej Giemza POL 0 KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM +0'44.20
10 Mohammed Albalooshi UAE 0 Ride to Abu Dhabi Team KTM +0'56.50
Provisional Standings
Wednesday, 19 Apr 2017
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Sam SUNDERLAND GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
2 Paulo GONCALVES POR Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
3 Kevin BENAVIDES ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
4 Pablo QUINTANILLA 4 CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna
5 Pierre-Alexandre RENET FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna
6 Mathias WALKNER AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
7 Antoine MEO FRA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
8 Maciej GIEMZA POL KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM
9 Mohammed ALBALOOSHI UAE Ride to Abu Dhabi Team KTM
10 Adam TOMICZEK POL KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM