Continuing his strong run of form in the Moroccan dunes, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Pablo Quintanilla has secured a strong runner-up result on the second rally stage of the 2018 Merzouga Rally. With three stages still to be contested, the Chilean rally star is less than five minutes behind the provisional overall leader.
Delivering the goods again today in Morocco, Quintanilla enjoyed a mistake-free timed special. Reaching the leading riders after the halfway mark, the FR 450 Rally powered rider lead the group for the remainder of the stage. Securing second for the day, the reigning Cross-Country Rallies World Champion is still in the game for the coveted victory at the event.
Battling through a demanding stage in terms of navigation, Andrew Short brought his Husqvarna home in 14th position. Continuing to learn and improve, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider is looking forward to the remaining three stages of the event in Morocco.
The first part of the two-day long marathon stage, tomorrow’s stage three will be crucial for the final outcome of the event. Featuring a total of 303km, it includes a timed special of 239km. Expected to reach the finish of the stage early tomorrow afternoon, riders will not be allowed any outside assistance as they prepare their machines for Thursday’s stage four.
Pablo Quintanilla: “Overall, I feel like I did a really good job today. We had a very early start this morning and in the first dunes it was difficult to see if another rider was in front. Around the 120km mark I caught the leading group of riders and continued to open the tracks for the remainder of the special stage. I made no mistakes and felt fast from start to finish. My navigation was also on point and this is crucial in such conditions. It was a positive day and I’m happy for it. Tomorrow we have the marathon stage and we will not get any assistance at the end of the stage. We need to protect our bikes and make sure we avoid any small crashes. I’m looking forward to the marathon stage. It won’t be easy but I will do my best to enjoy it.”
Andrew Short: “It was a tough stage both mentally and physically. The navigation was tricky and the dunes were really soft. Also, the dry rivers were fast with a lot of vegetation, so there was a mixture of everything in the special stage. It was a hard day but overall I did my best for a good result. I’m hoping that the area we’re heading to tomorrow will be a lot simpler in terms of riding and navigation. So far this event has been a huge learning experience for me.”
2018 Merzouga Rally – Stage 2 Provisional Classification
1. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 02:41:54
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 02:44:10
3. Toby Price (KTM) 02:45:35
4. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 02:49:36
5. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 02:50:04
6. Joan Barreda (Honda) 02:50:11
14. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 03:01:18