Securing a strong runner-up result in the first rally stage of the 2018 Desafio Ruta 40, Pablo Quintanilla has made a solid start to the week-long event in Argentina. Determined to keep on fighting for the overall victory at this year’s Desafio Ruta 40, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider has his eyes set on extending his lead in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship standings.

Following his strong outing and podium result a week ago at the Atacama Rally in Chile, Pablo Quintanilla has taken the battle to defend his World Championship to Argentina. Starting with a short Prologue on Sunday, the 2018 Desafio Ruta 40 is a 2,285km point to point rally that takes place in the western part of the South American country.

Placing fifth in the event’s Prologue, Quintanilla made the best of his advantageous starting position for Monday’s first and longest stage of the race. Enjoying a steady pace despite treacherous conditions in the Argentinean countryside, Pablo brought his FR 450 Rally home in second position.

Starting from the city of Belén, Tuesday’s stage two takes competitors to Tinogasta. It includes a 317km timed special in a total distance of 414km.

Pablo Quintanilla: “It was a challenging stage one and I’m happy with second place for the day. The tracks were fast and there were lots of places where you had to be extra careful. It was difficult to push and you had to take some risks. To be honest, I struggled a bit to find a good pace under these circumstances, so I did my best to remain consistent and that paid off. At the end of the day, it proved to be a good stage for me and a positive to start the event. It’s going to be a difficult week of racing here in Argentina, so I’ll do my best to avoid any mistakes and hope for the best possible result.”

2018 Desafio Ruta 40 Rally – Stage 1 Provisional Classification
1. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 04:08:00
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 04:08:27
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 04:12:43
4. Toby Price (KTM) 04:13:32
5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 04:16:35
6. Luciano Benavides (KTM) 04:24:41

2018 Desafio Ruta 40 Rally – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 1]
1. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 04:02:05
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 04:02:33
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 04:06:55
4. Toby Price (KTM) 04:07:43
5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 04:10:39
6. Luciano Benavides (KTM) 04:18:31

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