The fifth and very demanding stage of the Dakar 2011 marks a milestone for young Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain. Paulo Gonvalves wins aboard the speedbrain-developed BMW G 450 RR in convincing fashion and lands the first Dakar stage victory for BMW since ten years, making it a remarkable or even historic day for the Bavarian brand. Also because the Monster Energy X-Raid partner squad owns the car division with Peterhansel/Cottret in their BMW X3 CC.
Team principal Wolfgang Fischer: "It´s a great experience for our young team to celebrate such a success upon our first Dakar. I´d like to thank everyone involved, the team members, the supporters and all who believed in us. Today sets a true milestone."
Paulo Goncalves entered Thursday´s stage in 11th spot following his navigation error on Wednesday. He rode a fine, controlled race and found himself right there when Frenchman Olivier Pain crashed and injured himself.
Goncalves resumed his ride once the medical crew had arrived. Nevertheless he and teammate Frans Verhoeven headed the field for quite some time, finally arriving first and third at the finish in Iquique.
The route offered a lot of variations, from steep descents to stone-filled passages and giant dunes near the ocean. As he had Iquique in sight, Goncalves played it safe when the correct way was unclear to him inbetween the dunes. The extra miles costed him the lead and, when Verhoeven crashed over one of the last dunes, the win for the team almost disappeared in the very last moment.
But the GPS monitoring rewarded Goncalves back with the time he lost while assisting Pain. Verhoeven missed second place by just one second, nearly making it a double victory for the team.
Dakar 2011, Stage 5
1. Paulo Goncalves (POR), BMW Motorrad by speedbrain 2. Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHI), Aprilia, 2:18 min behind 3. Frans Verhoeven (NED), BMW Motorrad by speedbrain, 2:19 4. Marc Coma (SPA), KTM, 3:58 5. Cyril Despres (FRA), KTM, 4:10 6. Helder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 10:01 7. Ruben Faria (POR), KTM, 12:05 8. Jonah Street (USA), Yamaha, 15:15 9. Pal-Anders Ullevalseter (NOR), KTM, 17:01 10. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), KTM, 17:36
16. Ze Helio (BRA), BMW Motorrad by speedbrain, 27:18 55. Bianchi Prata (PRT), BMW Motorrad by speedbrain, 1:37:13
2. Despres 10:14 min behind
3. Lopez Contardo 18:32
4. Goncalves 21:42
10. Verhoeven 49:55
11. Ze Helio 50:36
38. Bianchi Prata 3:29:09