Making short work of a demanding stage four at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla has secured stage victory and regained the lead in the event’s provisional overall standings. With tomorrow’s timed special featuring a motocross-styled start, the Chilean rally star is entering the fifth and final stage of the event with a lead of six minutes and 17 seconds in the provisional overall.
Featuring a 244km long timed special in the dunes of the Liwa Desert, Wednesday’s stage four of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was no walk in the park. The eighth rider to take the start this morning, FR 450 Rally mounted Quintanilla made the best of his advantageous position to make up for the time lost during a tough stage three yesterday.
Topping two out of four stages contested so far in the United Arab Emirates, Quintanilla has put himself in the best possible position ahead of tomorrow’s final stage. Leading the overall by a little more than six minutes to Sam Sunderland and close to 10 minutes to Kevin Benavides, Pablo will look to wrap up his week-long adventure in the massive dunes of the UAE with the overall victory tomorrow.
Featuring a total of 356km, the fifth and final stage at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge includes a 218km long timed special.
Pablo Quintanilla: “Everything is going according to plan and I’m happy about it. Today I had a really good start position and took full advantage of it. It’s always difficult to ride fast in the dunes and the off-piste sections, but I did my best to remain focused and avoid mistakes. I made some good passes today and had a good pace from start to finish. I’m happy I got the stage victory but most importantly I am satisfied I made up some good time in the overall. I have a small but decent gap in the lead going into tomorrow’s final stage. I’m happy to be in this position and I will do my best to bring home the overall victory at this rally. It would be the best possible way to start the new season.”
2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 03:16:53
2. Toby Price (KTM) 03:19:28
3. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 03:22:35
4. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 03:23:36
5. Michael Metge (Honda) 03:23:41
6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 03:25:16
2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Provisional Overall Standings After Stage 4
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 14:03:06
2. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 14:09:23
3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 14:13:05
4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 14:14:07
5. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 14:21:05
6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 14:23:12