Determined to wrap up his week-long adventure in Morocco on a high, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla has topped the fifth and final stage of the Merzouga Rally to secure a solid third overall in the event’s final overall standings. Continuing to make progress Andrew Short has claimed a spot inside the top 10 in the overall.
Featuring a mass, motocross-styled start in the dunes of the Merzouga Desert, the fifth and final stage of the event saw Pablo Quintanilla put in a dominant performance. Posting the fastest time for the day, the Chilean rally star solidified his strong third position in the overall standings.
Putting in his best individual stage performance Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Short crossed the line in eighth position. Wrapping up the Merzouga Rally 10th in the overall, the American is content with the progress he made during the week in Morocco.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team will return to action at the third round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the Atacama Rally in Chile on August 11/19.
Pablo Quintanilla: “Today was a really fun stage. We had the motocross start and it was good to battle with the guys from start to finish. I got off to a good start but five or six kilometres into the stage I had a small crash that dropped me back a few positions. Then I had to push until the end and 10km before the finish I got the lead back and was the first to cross the finish line. It felt really nice to win a stage that way. Overall, I’m satisfied with my third position in the overall. This was a tough race with tricky navigation and to be on the podium is always good. We continue to gather experience and look ahead in the races to come.”
Andrew Short: “I really enjoyed this week in Morocco. Especially this last day was really fun, bringing back memories from my days racing motocross. Before the flag dropped the nerves were there and I was maybe a bit late off the start. It was a good experience racing alongside the fastest guys in the dunes and being able to see their pace. The adrenaline kicked in and I had some really good fun. Overall, the week has been great for me. I enjoy the atmosphere in rally racing and I feel I am improving, getting closer to the top guys. I might still have a long way to go but I understand it needs to be done step-by-step. This week was a positive step in the right direction.”
2018 Merzouga Rally – Stage 5 Provisional Classification
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 38:12
2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 38:15
3. Toby Price (KTM) 38:18
4. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 38:36
5. Joan Barreda (Honda) 38:38
6. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 38:54
8. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 38:56
2018 Merzouga Rally – Final Overall Classification [Provisional]
1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 13:28:19
2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 13:34:29
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 13:39:44
4. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 13:47:08
5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 13:48:23
6. Toby Price (KTM) 13:49:23
10. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 14:29:44