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Hero rider Goncalves impresses in opening stage of Silkway Rally

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Hero MotoSports rider Paulo Goncalves finished sixth after the opening stage of the Silkway Rally.

Irkutsk, Russia: Hero MotoSports Team Rally has made an impressive debut at the ninth edition of the Silkway Rally. Led by its newest Rider, former world cross country champion and the Dakar Runner-up in 2015, Paulo Goncalves, who finished Stage 1 of the Rally in sixth position.

Closely following him was the team’s second rider, ‘Best Rookie of Dakar 2018’ and two time top-10 finisher of the Dakar, Oriol Mena, who finished the stage in 10th position.

The Hero MotoSports Team Rally has come to the Silkway Rally on the back of a solid training program and strong performances in the new season, including podium finishes at the Mezouga Rally in Morocco and Desert Storm Rally in India.

The much-awaited debut of Paulo Goncales in the Hero MotoSports Team Rally colours, happened on Saturday as Paulo and Oriol rolled off the inaugural podium of the Rally, amidst the festivities and cheer in the town of Irkutsk.

Stage 1 on Sunday, took the competitors from Irkutsk and put them to the test on first special stage of 51kms of technical tracks alongside the shores of Lake Baikal to reach the first rally bivouac at Baykalsk. The total stage distance covered was 255 km including the two-liaison stage making up the 201 kms. Stage 2 on Monday will give the first taste of the rally to the competitors with a long day of riding covering 413 kms from Baykalsk to the Ulan Ude bivouac.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Oriol Mena

The Silkway Rally 2019, touted as one of the most large-scale cross-country rallies in the world and the largest in the FIM calendar of events, opened its doors to the bike category for the very first time and also became one of the key rounds of FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship.

Starting on July 6 from Irkutsk (Russia), it’s a unique 2700km adventure, divided into ten varied and technical stages with a start in east Siberia, the crossing of Mongolia from North to South and the famous Gobi desert and its ocean of dunes, to judge the finish, on July 16 in Dunhuang (China).

Commenting on the performance, Hero MotoSports team manager Wolfgang Fischer said: “This is a new and exciting adventure for the rally lovers across the world and all the competitors. For us, this is an important rally as we present Paulo Goncalves to the Rally world for the first time as a part of Hero MotoSports Team Rally. As this is a long race, and the terrains, climate and tracks are completely new to us, our aim will be to bring both the bikes and the riders safely across the finish line.”

On his display, Paulo Goncalves said: “I am very excited on making my debut in the Silkway Rally with Hero MotoSports Team Rally. I am happy with the preparations we have made and how the team has bonded so well during the training sessions and feel there’s a great positive energy within the team. I got a good feeling out there today and I am really happy with my Hero 450 RR. It was a short stage with just about 51 kms to be done on the clock, but it was a bit tricky as the ground was slippery due to overnight rains. So, I rode fast enough to avoid unnecessary risks and happy to see the back of the first stage. Looking forward to the next one.”

Further, Oriol Mena said: “I have had a good season so far and good preparations with the team. For me this race, like every race is about getting more experience, learning and improving my skills. It is a great opportunity for me to be racing alongside Paulo and learn from him. Happy to finish the first stage of the rally. I rode well today, with a good feeling on the bike. The piste was full muddy and slushy with water holes and some stones as well. It’s just the start of the rally so I did not want to take any risks. I am happy for myself and Paulo that we made a good start for the team today.”

Provisional Rankings after Stage 1

1.      Kevin Benavides            Monster Energy Honda          30m 51s

2.      Luciano Benavides       Red Bull KTM                           +36s

3.      Xavier De Soultrait      Yamaha Rally Team                 +51s

6.      Paulo Goncalves          Hero MotoSports                      +01m 36s

10.    Oriol Mena                   Hero MotoSports                      +03m 31s

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Leclerc fends off Mercedes drivers to end Ferrari’s Monza win-drought

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Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclrec. Text and Photo: Formula 1

Monza (Italy): A battling performance from Charles Leclerc saw the Monegasque claim his second win in as many weekends, taking a brilliant Italian Grand Prix victory for Ferrari, the Scuderia’s first at Monza since 2010, as he saw off a late-race push from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.sports news in english

Leclerc became a first-time Grand Prix winner last weekend in Belgium. But while that victory would undoubtedly have been special, winning at Monza in his first race here as a Ferrari driver – claiming the Scuderia’s first Italian Grand Prix win since Fernando Alonso’s victory nine years ago – will doubtless have turned the 21-year-old Leclerc into a national hero in Italy.

For the majority of the race, it appeared as though Lewis Hamilton would once again deny Ferrari home glory. But once the five-time champion’s tyres went off in the closing stages of the race, it was left to team mate Bottas to launch a late, and ultimately unsuccessful assault, on Leclerc.sports news in english

Bottas therefore came home second, while Hamilton completed the podium – with Sebastian Vettel having dramatically spun his Ferrari out of contention for the second consecutive Italian Grand Prix early on in the race.

A fantastic day for Renault saw Daniel Ricciardo claim a season’s best fourth place ahead of team mate Nico Hulkenberg in sixth.

Despite starting eighth – rather than 17th last weekend – Red Bull’s Alex Albon ended up one place lower than he had done in Spa, coming home in sixth, ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who just managed to hold off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who ended up eighth having started P19.

Antonio Giovinazzi chose an opportune moment to score just his second points-finish of the year, coming home ninth for Alfa Romeo, while Lando Norris completed the top 10 for McLaren.

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Moto GP: Marc Marquez claims 50th career win in Czech GP

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Honda's Marc Marquez claims 50th career win in rain-lashed Czech Grand Prix.

Brno: Honda’s Marc Marquez averred his 50th career race triumph with victory at the Czech MotoGP on Sunday after the race had originally been delayed by 45 minutes due to rain. sports world

Earlier, Marc’s brother Alex also made the most of pole position to dominate the Moto2 to register his fifth win of the season.

Defending champion, Marc defeated Ducati’s Italian Andrea Dovizioso by 2.4sec to extend his advantage at the top of the riders’ standings to 63 points with his sixth triumph of the season.

Eight-time world champion Valentino Rossi was sixth and trails Marquez by 110 points in the overall standings.

Australian Jack Miller declined Alex Rins to the third spot for his second podium of the campaign in a race cut by one lap due to adverse weather conditions. sports world

“This is definitely the better one (podium), it was nice to fight at the end,” Millar said. sports world

Alex Marquez, 23, crossed the line more than three seconds up on Italy’s Fabio Di Giannantonio with Enea Bastianini in third. sports world

“I was really concentrating from the beginning because there was some wet patches on turn one but I decided to start and keep my rhythm. I saw ‘Dovi’ was behind me and I kept pushing and pushing and pushing,” Marquez, 26, told broadcaster BT Sport.

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Hamilton edges Verstappen in Hungary F1 thriller

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Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers championship by a big margin.

Beijing: A bold strategy call from Mercedes helped Lewis Hamilton snatch the lead of the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with just three laps to go, with the Briton taking his eighth victory of the 2019 season. latest sports news headlines

In an entertaining race, the leading two were in a class of their own all day, with Verstappen seizing the initiative from his maiden pole position and Hamilton settling into second place.

The Briton pushed hard after both drivers had made their pit stops, and briefly took the lead after the pair went wheel-to-wheel at turn four on lap 39, but ran wide on the corner exit and was obliged to give the position back to Verstappen.

Realizing that their man would be unlikely to overtake Verstappen on track, Mercedes elected to pit Hamilton for another set of new tyres on lap 48, in the hope that the fresh rubber would allow him to quickly close the gap to the Dutchman.

Shifting to a two-stop strategy worked a treat, with Hamilton not losing his second place and setting several lap records as he closed on Verstappen at over a second per lap, ultimately taking the race lead on lap 67 of 70 as the Red Bull’s badly worn tyres rendered the Dutchman defenseless.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton paid tribute to his team’s role in securing the victory. “I’m really grateful for the team for believing in me and always pushing to the limits and taking a chance. This wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of everyone at the factory. I was on the limit all the way. I didn’t know if I could overhaul a 19 second gap. It was like [doing] qualifying laps every lap.”

Despite losing the lead so late in the race, Verstappen was magnanimous in defeat. “We were not fast enough,” the Dutchman lamented.

“We tried everything, but it was not enough, but I think it was a good weekend overall. Congratulations to Lewis. He was pushing me hard, and I like that.”

Behind the leading two, Sebastian Vettel took advantage of a similar strategy call to overtake teammate Charles Leclerc for third place, though Ferrari may be concerned at their lack of pace relative to the leading two, with their cars finishing over one minute adrift of Hamilton.

It was not a good day for Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished only eighth after having to pit for a new nosecone following contact early in the race, and suffered the ignominy of being lapped by his teammate.

After crashing out at the previous race in Germany, the Finn’s recent displays will do nothing to quieten the rumors that Mercedes are set to replace him with Esteban Ocon for 2020. latest sports news headlines

Elsewhere, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz took a fine fifth place, ahead of Verstappen’s stablemate Pierre Gasly in another underwhelming performance.

Having failed to register a top-three finish so far this season, the Frenchman is another whose drive is reported to be under threat. latest sports news headlines

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen finished a solid seventh, Sainz’s teammate Lando Norris took ninth, and Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon rounded out the points positions in 10th place.

Hamilton’s win sees him extend his championship lead to 250 points, with Bottas second on 188 and Verstappen close behind on 181. latest sports news headlines

In the constructor’s standings, Mercedes remain out in front on 438, with Ferrari some way back with 288, and Red Bull on 244. latest sports news headlines

Following a four-week mid-season break, the 2019 Formula 1 season resumes on September 1 with the Belgian Grand Prix.

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