Dakar Rally Stage Two is wide-open desert

Stage two of the 2021 Dakar Rally has proven to be a successful one for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing with Pablo Quintanilla provisionally finishing third fastest and teammate Luciano Benavides safely inside the top 10, in eighth. In the general standings, Quintanilla and Benavides sit fourth and seventh, respectively.

Making the most of being the 22nd rider to start today’s stage two, Quintanilla immediately settled into a strong pace. The Chilean rider, runner-up at the 2020 Dakar, moved up into the top five by the first checkpoint and didn’t look back, maintaining a great rhythm over the various changes in terrain to ultimately complete the 457km timed special as third fastest. Currently lying fourth in the provisional overall standings, Pablo will be looking to chase down the two riders ahead of him on tomorrow’s stage three.

Putting in another solid performance on the demanding desert terrain, Luciano Benavides went one better than on Sunday to complete stage two in eighth place. His consistency moves him up to seventh in the provisional standings – less than 10 minutes down on the current leader. With Tuesday’s stage three promising more of the soft, deep sand dunes seen at the start of today’s route, Luciano hopes the conditions will once again favour his skill set.

Stage three of the 2021 Dakar Rally, totalling 629km, both starts and finishes in Wadi Ad-Dawasir. Riders will face a tough 403km timed special as part of a looped course consisting of wide-open desert interspersed with slower technical sections.

Pablo Quintanilla: “It was a really good day for me today – it was a long stage, really fast with some tricky navigation in places. Things started off tough right from the beginning with some very soft dunes, some of them were difficult to cross. Then some faster valleys between dunes, which I really liked – it suits my riding style and I much prefer it to the slower technical sections. It looks like there will be more dunes tomorrow, so we’ll see how things go.”

Luciano Benavides: “It’s been another solid day for me today, and I’m happy for my result. I did a good job through the dunes at the beginning of the stage, it was more like the sort of terrain I’m used to from back home and I really enjoyed that section. After that, I was able to find a good rhythm as things got faster later on and I didn’t make too many mistakes with my navigation. I’m really pleased with how things are going, and the bike has been perfect so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

2021 Dakar Rally – Stage 2 Provisional Classification

1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 4:17:56
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 4:21:51
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 4:23:58
4. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 4:29:50
5. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 4:30:02
6. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 4:30:38

8. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 4:33:17

2021 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)

1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 8:15:38
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 8:22:01
3. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 8:22:15
4. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 8:22:54
5. Xavier de Soultrait (Husqvarna) 8:24:03
6. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 8:24:12

7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 8:24:45

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