In a tragic turn of events, Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Paulo Goncalves passed away after a fall from Stage 7 of the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. A statement read that "the organisers received an alert at 10:08 am and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 am and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest. Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead." Participating in his 13th Dakar, 40-year old Goncalves was one of the most experienced riders, with his career spanning for over 14 years.
Portuguese biker Paulo Gonçalves passed away.— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 12, 2020
Décès du pilote portugais Paulo Gonçalves.
Fallecimiento del piloto portugués Paulo Gonçalves.
+ info: https://t.co/mBQxbXgtXe#Dakar2020 pic.twitter.com/amW48i4C2G
Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Paulo Goncalves continued his fine show and registered his third top 10 spot in a row by finishing stage 6 of the grueling Dakar Rally at the eighth position. His teammate Sebastian Buhler, who has been impressive so far and was well poised to break into the top 15 in the overall rankings, suffered a technical issue with his bike and could not finish the stage on Friday. As a result, he too is now out of the contention for the overall results, but like his teammate Joaquim Rodrigues, Buhler will opt to restart the race again in stage 7, and still compete for the stage results and gain valuable Dakar experience.
It has been a tough first week in the Dakar Rally for Hero MotoSports with some really good starts and impressive stage performances being undermined by a series of unfortunate technical snags. The team is looking forward to the rest day on Saturday here, as it will give everyone a chance to recover mentally and physically and also to re-organise their strategy for the even longer second week of the Dakar 2020. The stage 6 of the rally was the longest stage yet of the Dakar 2020 with a total of 830 kms to be done, including the 478 kms of the special.