Jan 12, 2020
During the seventh stage of Dakar Rally 2020, the cross-country rally community was hit with tragic news as a Portuguese biker Paul Gonçalves has passed away. Following the bad news, not many crews cared about the results or overall standings after the stage.
“It’s hard to say anything on a day when we lost such a great biker like Paulo Gonçalves. We’re very sorry about it and we feel especially for his family, it’s just awful,“ said Aleš Loprais.
In today’s stage from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir, Aleš Loprais, Khalid Alkendi and Petr Pokora finished in the fourth place with Praga V4S DKR. Only three factory Kamaz trucks were quicker. The Instaforex Loprais Team still holds the fourth position in the overall standings.
“It was quite a nice stage with lots of dunes. Our Praga was working well and we had a good atmosphere within the team. In some places, we were battling with Martin Macík. It was a nice and tight race and we can be happy about our good result. It’s a reward for all the hard work in the past year,” added Loprais.
As a mark of respect, tomorrow’s stage eight from Wadi Al-Dawasir to Wadi Al-Dawasir has been cancelled, for the motorcycle class, by event organisers ASO.
The Red Bull KTM Rally team and all at KTM wish Paulo’s family, team and friends their sincerest condolences.
Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Team Manager: “It has been an extremely sad day for the rally family and of course we send our condolences to Paulo’s family and friends. He was very much loved in the paddock – not only a great rider but also an amazing person and a legend of our sport. Obviously, the news has shocked us deeply, but no one more so than Toby, who was the first to reach Paulo after his crash. We are thankful that in respect for Paulo’s loved ones, and to pay tribute to a great man, tomorrow’s stage will be cancelled for the motorcycles. A day without racing will give all riders the chance to remember Paulo and clear their heads before continuing on Tuesday. Of course, we all hope for a safe finish to the event.”
Following the tragic news of the passing of Portuguese rally racer Paulo Goncalves, stage seven of the 2020 Dakar Rally has been a hugely challenging and emotionally difficult day for GasGas Factory Racing and Laia Sanz, as it has the entire Dakar bivouac.
Well-known to so many within the extended Dakar family, 40-year-old Goncalves was competing in his 13th Dakar Rally. As a mark or respect event organisers ASO have cancelled tomorrow’s motorcycle stage eight.
GasGas Factory Racing wish to pass on their deepest condolences to Paulo’s family, the Hero MotoSports team and his many Dakar friends.
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