|ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA RIDER FINISHES SEVENTH ON FIRST LEG OF MARATHON STAGE TO DEFEND RUNNER-UP POSITION IN EVENT STANDINGS|
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short have both successfully completed the first leg of the 2020 Dakar Rally marathon stage. Opening the special following his winning ride on stage nine, Quintanilla navigated well through the initial 200 kilometres to place seventh. The day’s proceedings were shortened due to safety concerns and results were declared at kilometre 345.
With stage 10 of the rally due to include the longest timed special of the event at an exhausting 534 kilometres, riders initially focused on preserving their machines and making it safely to the temporary bivouac at Shubaytah. The fast, open pistes and tricky navigation proved a real challenge to some, with a number of riders losing time or falling from their machines. With all helicopters being used to aid competitors, the organisers had no choice but to cut short the stage for safety reasons.
Opening the track on day 10, Pablo Quintanilla did an excellent job of navigating his way through the stage, losing the minimum amount of time to the chasing riders behind. With his Husqvarna FR 450 Rally performing perfectly, the Chilean rider reached the refuelling stop in seventh place, less than six minutes down on the eventual stage winner. Following the shortening of the day’s proceedings, Pablo made it safely to the bivouac at Shubaytah. Enjoying an advantageous start position for tomorrow, the two-time world champion is in a strong position to make up time during the event’s penultimate stage 11.
Andrew Short enjoyed a strong start to stage 10, moving up to sixth-fastest by the third checkpoint. Pushing hard on the high-speed special, a small mistake right before the neutralisation caused the American to get lost and lose some time. Worried about his fuel level, Short was thankfully able to get his FR 450 Rally back on track and to the checkpoint. Unfortunately, due to the time lost he placed 18th following the reduction of the stage.
Thursday’s stage 11 marks the second half of the marathon stage and returns to Haradh from the bivouac at Shubaytah. Totalling 744 kilometres, the day includes a challenging 379-kilometre special that will once again test riders’ navigation skills.
Pela Renet – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally Team Manager: “Both riders did a really good job today – Pablo led the stage well from the front and Andrew was really doing well right up until just before the refuelling. Pablo was caught by Price and Barreda on the special and so lost about six minutes, but with the stage cut short he could have lost more as the other riders caught up to the leading group. He now has a good start position for tomorrow and has lost less time today than we thought, due to the reduced distance of the stage. Andrew was making really good time but got lost a little right before the neutralisation and as such was worried he would have run out of fuel off the main route. Thankfully, he was able to get back on track. Despite all the challenges, including his penalty and stopping to help Toby Price during the first week, Andrew still lies just outside the top 10 overall, which is a massive achievement considering the race he’s had.”
2020 Dakar Rally – Stage 10 Provisional Classification
2020 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 10)