Goncalves keeps Dakar lead after stopping for injured Walkner

Honda rider Paulo Goncalves kept hold of the Dakar Rally lead for bikes, despite stopping to help an injured Matthias Walkner during Saturday's seventh stage.

KTM's Walkner crashed 15 kilometres into the Uyuni-Salta stage, and rally leader Goncalves was the first on the scene to aid the Austrian.

The Portuguese rider activated his beacon to report the fall, even though he was battling at the time Walkner's teammate Toby Price for the overall lead.

"I was the first to arrive and help, to call for the services," Goncalves told Motorsport.com.

"Its a normal situation that you have to do no matter what, we have to help someone who needs it. It is something we don't like to see happen in a race situation."

Walkner was diagnosed with a broken femur and forced to retire from the rally. The Austrian later took to Twitter to thank Goncalves for his help.

The Honda rider lost 11 minutes while helping Walkner, but race officials deducted 10m53s from his final stage time, keeping him in the lead by 3m12s from KTM rider Price.

"The important thing is that I am the leader and I will try to keep that all the way to the end," the Honda rider said at the end of the seventh stage.

"Honda had the opportunity of winning in the last two years and we try to push the boundaries every day.

"We compete every day like it is the first. We need to do our best and see if that's enough."

The Portuguese is not looking far ahead, taking each day as it comes. "In a race like this, every day, anything can happen. The important thing is to look at the next day," he added.

“The first week was fast, we had the altitude difficulty with the three days in Bolivia, but now we come back to Argentina and it’s an altitude to which we are accustomed."

Earlier in the rally, KTM rider Laia Sanz was also awarded time after stopping to aid Pela Renet when the Frenchman suffered a fall during Stage 4.

Interview by Luis Ramirez

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About this article
Series Dakar
Event Dakar 2016
Drivers Paulo Goncalves , Matthias Walkner
Article type Interview
Tags bike