With the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship kicking off in the United Arab Emirates from March 30 to April 4, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Short is all-set to take on the five-stage Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge aboard his FR 450 Rally. Following the injury he sustained at the Dakar Rally in January, Pablo Quintanilla is expected to resume his training in May and aims to join Andrew for the remainder of the 2019 World Championship.
Following their top-six results at the 2019 Dakar Rally, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rally squad are looking forward to a strong season of international rally competition. Enjoying a productive week of testing and training in the dunes of Morocco during March, Andrew Short heads to the UAE knowing he can battle for a solid overall result at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
Working hard to return to full fitness following surgery on his left tibia, Pablo Quintanilla has already entered the final part of his long rehabilitation process. Highly motivated to resume training aboard his Husqvarna machine, the two-time Cross-Country Rallies World Champion aims to make a return to competitive action later on during the 2019 series.
Featuring a total of five stages, the 2019 edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge takes place on March 31 to April 4 in the dunes of the United Arab Emirates.
Andrew Short: “Everything has been going pretty well for me and I’m looking forward to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge at the end of the month. A few weeks back we had a test in Morocco, and it went pretty well. It was good to ride my rally bike in desert conditions again after the Dakar. Together with the team we tried some new suspension components and made some good overall improvements with the bike. I think these last few adjustments will make a big difference for the upcoming races and I’m looking forward to trying them out in race conditions. This will be my first time racing the Desert Challenge and I want to make the best out of this experience. It is a different kind of event and I know that speed will be a crucial factor at this race. For me it will be interesting to learn and I’m also excited to be with the team preparing for the next big challenges. It’s been a busy time for me racing the WORCS series in the States and also preparing for the rallies, but my head is in a good place and I want to continue learning and improving.”
Pablo Quintanilla: “Since my operation after the Dakar I’ve been working really hard to get back to full fitness. The injury to my tibia was quite complicated and I wanted to give my body time to recover fully. I’ve been having physio sessions almost every day and also spending quite some time in the hyperbaric chamber. We’ve made some good progress in the last couple of weeks and my medical crew has confirmed it will be possible for me to get back on the bike in early May. I’m really motivated to get back on my Husqvarna and start training for the coming races. I’m focused on the coming Dakar and for me racing the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship is the best way to prepare for that. I’m wishing Andrew and our team all the very best for the upcoming Abi Dhabi Desert Challenge and I’m really looking forward to joining them for the rest of the season.”
Pela Renet – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally Team Manager: “We are really looking forward to the start of this new rally racing season. Racing is the best way to improve in rally and we always want to give our riders as much time racing their bikes as possible. While waiting for Pablo to come back, we are heading to Abu Dhabi with Andrew as our main rider. Andrew has made huge improvements during the last Dakar and we are positive he can keep that momentum going. We spent a very productive week of testing with Andrew in Morocco, where we had the chance to test some new parts on our machine. Andrew is very satisfied with the progress made and also eager to go racing in Abu Dhabi. This will be his first time racing this event, and we all believe it will be the ideal way to prepare himself for the upcoming Dakar. As for Pablo, we want to give him time to fully recover from his Dakar injury. We are looking forward to having Pablo back so that he can contest the remainder of the World Championship with us.”