Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Paulo Goncalves finished second in Stage 9 of the ongoing Silkway Rally 2019. The ninth stage was one of the most challenging yet for the participants and saw Goncalves complete the day just 43s behind the stage winner. This was also the sixth stage podium finish for the team in the rally. Hero's second rider Oriol Mena had a solid run as well and worked his way up the rankings to finish in the top 10. Mena completed Stage 9 in ninth place, 20m 51s off the stage leader. The Dakar rider managed to finish sixth, while Goncalves is placed 16th in the overall standings.
Speaking on the strong finish, Hero rider Paulo Goncalves said, "It was a beautiful stage today with lot of dunes and sand tracks. I felt really good during the stage and the bike worked perfectly as well. I finished just 43 sec behind the stage winner so it is a really good outcome for the Team. I pushed myself hard today to improve my timing and speed. Now only one more day left in the Silkway Rally and I hope everything goes well tomorrow to finish my first rally with Hero MotoSports Team Rally."
Hero's Oriol Mena added, "It was a difficult stage towards the end with some really dangerous piste. I brought the bike to the finish stage safely for the team so I am really happy with that. I am feeling quite good and confident about my riding and looking forward to finishing the Rally tomorrow."
The ninth stage of the Silkway Rally 2019 saw competitors complete a 501 km run, of which 290 km made up for the special stage. The stage offered a mix of fast and sandy roads with a beautiful view in the first half, while the second half saw the terrain full of bumps and dunettes mixed with dry riverbeds that hampered the speed of the riders. The last section though was a fast dash to the finish line, as the riders reached the Jiagyuguan bivouac, marking the end of the penultimate stage.
The final stage takes place tomorrow from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang in China with the participants completing a total of 556 km inclusive of the 255 km reserved for the special stage. The terrain largely includes sand dunes, as the riders will make their way to the finish line to claim the Tiger Cup, the signature trophy of Silk Way Rally 2019.
Provisional Rankings of Stage 9
1. Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) - 03h 52m 28s
2. Paulo Goncalves (Hero MotoSports) - +43s
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha Rally Team) - +01m 45s
4. Sam Sunderland (RedBull KTM) - +04m 19s
9. Oriol Mena (Hero MotoSports) - +20m 51s
Overall Rankings at the end of Stage 9
1. Sam Sunderland (RedBull KTM) - 23h 27m 27s
2. Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) - +22m 51s
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha Rally Team) - +23m 42s
6. Oriol Mena (Hero MotoSports) - +48m 47s
16. Paulo Goncalves (Hero MotoSports) - +50h 32m