PUNE: Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders, Paulo Goncalves and Oriol Mena, made strong recovery to be in the Top 5 in the overall rankings as Goncalves finished third to earn himself a podium place in Stage 5 in the Silkway Rally that started in Russia and now reached Mongolia.
At the halfway mark the two riders have shown consistent performances to get into Top 5. On the second day of Marathon stage that began from UlaanBaatar, the competitors rode for 365km including 337 kms of the special stage at Mandalgovi bivouac, marking the end of the stage.
Seizing the opportunity right from the start, Paulo Goncalves rode fast and hard to gain some of the time that he had lost in the previous two stages and catching up with the riders in the front.
His blazing effort in the stage rewarded him with another stage podium with a 3rd place finish. With this, he also moved up in the overall rankings to fourth place.
Oriol Mena too had a solid day, as he tamed another very fast stage with a ninth-place finish in stage 5, and in the process, retained his 5th position in the overall rankings. The fifth stage was set along Mongolia’s signature tracks: hills, steppes, off-road driving and many parallel paths, which required the competitors to pay attention to the navigation. Leading the riders into the mountains, the stage offered long fast twisty sections mainly made up of broken piste and stones.
It was a long stage with 800kms being covered over 2 days, so I feel great to see it behind me. We are in a good position at the end of the 5 stages but we have 5 more in front of us so my focus will be to finish them.” —Paulo Goncalves
It was again a very fast stage so I decided not to push too hard and save it for the 2nd half. I am feeling really good, winning confidence with every passing day. Now one more day over and one day less to arrive at China.” —Oriol Mena