Reaching the end of a gruelling stage three of this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla is currently fourth in the event’s provisional overall standings. With two more long rally stages remaining, the Chilean rider is a little more than one-minute away from the provisional top three and less than 11 minutes behind the current overall leader.
Living up to the difficult task of opening Tuesday’s 281km long stage, FR 450 Rally mounted Quintanilla was enjoying a highly competitive pace for the first half of the timed special. Pushing hard through the fast, sandy sections of the Liwa desert, Pablo was inside the stage’s provisional top three when a small technical issue forced him to ease his pace.
Making good use of his experience, Pablo brought his Husqvarna home to post the eighth fastest time for the day. Currently fourth in the provisional overall rankings, Quintanilla has his eyes set on taking advantage of his good starting position tomorrow in the hope of reducing the gap to the riders ahead of him.
Taking place on Wednesday, the penultimate stage of this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge features a total of 390km to be run by all competitors. Tomorrow’s fourth timed special of the event is 244km long.
Pablo Quintanilla: “I was having a great day until the refuelling point. The stage started with some big dunes and some massive drops. The pace was quite fast. As the first to take the start this morning, I was doing my best to stay up front and my pace was good in the fast sections. Right after the refuelling point I had a small technical issue that didn’t let me continue in the same rhythm. I was unable to keep the pace with the guys up front and had to do my best to avoid losing much time. At the end I’m happy I brought my bike home and I’m still within striking distance to the top. We finished a tough stage and we now have two more to go in this rally. Everything could happen and I will do my best to make up for the time lost.”
2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Stage 3 Provisional Classification
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 03:29:52
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 03:35:55
3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 03:38:53
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 03:39:27
5. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 03:39:46
6. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 03:41:21
8. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 03:41:54
2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Provisional Overall Standings After Stage 3
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 10:35:19
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 10:42:53
3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 10:45:07
4. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 10:46:13
5. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 10:57:30
6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 10:57:56