Helder Rodrigues toasted a fantastic FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship victory on his WR450F thanks to second position in the Pharaoh’s Rally in Egypt last weekend. The Portuguese led the four round series coming into the hot and testing terrain and completed an emphatic 100% podium record for the 2011 campaign to lift his first FIM title.
Rodrigues had finished as runner-up in Abu Dhabi, emerged victorious from the round in Tunisia and then was third in Sardinia to head to the Middle East with an excellent chance of securing the honours. He started the competition not wanting to test fate but soon settled into a rhythm and through the six stages eventually managed to conquer three of them to classify behind Marc Coma. Helder was pronounced Portugal’s very first champion of the discipline.
“More than ever I wanted to race without taking any risks and happily I was able to come through the six stages problem-free,” he said. “I worked so hard to try and reach the top and this title is a fantastic reward and now we have a new challenge to improve our classification at the Dakar.”
Incidentally Yamaha dominated the Quad class in Egypt with four riders claiming the six stages and filling the overall top six of the final standings. Camelia Liparoti was third to become FIM Women’s World Champion for the third year in a row.
Rodrigues can now fully focus on the 2012 Dakar rally, beginning once again in South America in the first days of January. The new FIM number one will be aiming to better his third place from this year’s edition of arguably the toughest race in the world.