Successfully getting things underway in Morocco, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rally star Pablo Quintanilla has claimed a third place result in the short, opening Super Stage at the start of the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally. Enjoying a mistake-free first day aboard his FR 450 Rally, Pablo’s teammate Andrew Short finished inside the top 15.
Including a short 12km-long special stage over mixed terrain on the outskirts of the city of Fes, today’s Super Stage gave all competitors a small taste of what’s to follow in this five-stage-long event in Morocco. The fifth and final round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally is a crucial last competitive test before the prestigious 2018 Dakar Rally.
The first rider to kick off today’s stage, Pablo Quintanilla completed the short timed special in a total time of nine minutes and 10 seconds. Securing a solid third place result in the opening stage, the Chilean rally star now looks forward to the rally’s longer stages.
For Pablo and the whole Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team, the OiLibya Morocco Rally is a crucial event for more than one reason. Entering the event as the provisional leader in the points standings, Pablo has his eyes set on defending his title and securing the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
Following a few days of testing Pablo’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team partner Andrew Short had his first competitive outing on the FR 450 Rally machine. Focused on gaining further rally experience the American wrapped up the short opening stage with the 15th best overall time.
For Pablo and Andrew the OiLibya Morocco Rally is also the perfect chance to test the updated version of the Husqvarna FR 450 Rally machine. With the team looking to gain valuable experience in Morocco, the official launch of the all-new machine is set to take place during the 2017 EICMA show in Milan at the beginning of November.
With a total of 859km to be run on Friday, stage one of the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally will take competitors to the city of Erfoud. It’s going to be the longest stage in this year’s rally and the first part of the two-day long Marathon stage.
Pablo Quintanilla: “It was a good day for me. It’s always important to have a good first day at these multi-stage rallies. You can see where you’re at compared to other competitors and make your plans for the rest of the event. I was the first rider to start the super stage today and that felt good. I have an awesome feeling on my bike at the moment and I’m happy to be here racing. I’m looking forward to some more good stages during the next few days. This is the last race of the season and I’m really happy to be leading the championship. I want to remain focused on my main goal and that is to defend my title from last year. I want to have a good week of racing here in Morocco and enjoy the desert stages as much as I can.”
Andrew Short: “This event is like a big learning experience for me. The whole process is really exciting for me and I was very happy to get on with the racing bit today. The beginning of the stage had a lot of concrete on the side of the road and I was feeling maybe a bit over confident. After that it humbled me and I just decided to focus on my road book and enjoy the stage for what it was. Overall, it was nice to leave the bivouac and get a first feeling for how it all works with the speed zones and the waypoints. Everything is new for me so the whole process is fun. I know this event is going to be a big adventure for me and my main goal is to get as much experience as possible. I’m looking forward to the longer stages the next couple of days.”
2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally – Super Stage Provisional Classification
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 8:53
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 8:53
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 9:10
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 9:15
5. Laia Sanz (KTM) 9:19
15. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 10:05
Race Schedule – OiLibya Rally of Morocco 2017
Super Stage | Sept 5 | Fes | SS: 12.16km | Total: 54.34km
Stage 1 | Sept 6 | Fes – Erfoud | SS: 272.80km | Total: 859.14km
Stage 2 | Sept 7 | Erfoud – Erfoud | SS: 364.50km | Total: 388.94km
Stage 3 | Sept 8 | Erfoud – Erg Lihoudi | SS: 577.90km | Total: 595.70km
Stage 4 | Sept 9 | Erg Lihoudi – Erfoud | SS: 455.07km | Total: 482.04
Stage 5 | Sept 10 | Erfoud – Erfoud | SS: 188.15km | Total: 232.06km
Total SS: 1870.58km | Total Rally: 2,612.22km