Kicking off this year’s Dakar Rally with a strong performance, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Pablo Quintanilla posted the third fastest time on the short opening timed special. Bringing his FR 450 Rally machine to the finish of stage one without any problems, Pablo’s teammate Andrew Short is currently 27th in the provisional overall standings.
Following the coast all the way from Lima to Pisco, the opening stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally ended with a short 31km-long timed special. Staying focused on avoiding unnecessary risks, reigning FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Pablo Quintanilla posted the third best time for the day. Less than one-minute behind the provisional leader, Pablo will look to improve on his overall result in tomorrow’s first long stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally.
For Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team rookie Andrew Short, the opening stage of the Dakar Rally ended with the American posting the 27th fastest time. With his eyes set on the finish line in Argentina, the acclaimed US racer is looking to collect as much experience as possible in his very first participation in the world’s toughest rally.
Following a circular route around Pisco, the second stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally will be the first real test in this year’s event. Featuring a timed special of 267km in sandy dunes and off-piste sections, it will put all competitor’s navigational skills to the test.
The 2018 Dakar Rally marks the beginning of a strategic global partnership between Husqvarna Motorcycles and MOTOREX. All new Husqvarna models – both offroad and street – will be first filled with MOTOREX lubricants. In addition, the Swiss manufacturer has become an official partner of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, supplying their comprehensive range of lubricants, care and maintenance products to Husqvarna’s official Rally, Supercross, Motocross and Enduro teams.
Pablo Quintanilla: “I had a good special stage today. It might have only been 30km-long but it was good to get into the groove of things. It’s always important to get these first few stages done. I rode fast without taking any risks. There were also some tricky parts, where it was difficult to see the depth of the dunes on their landings. I am happy to start the race with a top three result. This first week of the race is mostly contested in deep sand dunes. It is going to be tough and demanding but I am ready for it. I will do my best to remain focused on my navigation and I think this will be very important for this first week of the Dakar.”
Andrew Short: “It was really exciting for me to get things going at the Dakar. With stage one featuring a short timed special I knew it was going to be like a long sprint to the finish line. After the long liaison section I got my nerves out and did my best. I am happy to get things going here in Peru. My goal is just to get to the end of this race, so my speed is not there yet. Hopefully I can get enough experience and learn from this race so one day I can be able to fight for the top spots.”
2018 Dakar Rally – Stage One Provisional Classification
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 00:20:55
2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 00:21:28
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 00:21:51
4. Joan Barreda (Honda) 00:21:52
5. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 00:22:02
6. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 00:22:18
27. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 00:25:46