The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team of Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short are set to take on the biggest challenge on the annual rally racing calendar – the Dakar Rally. Following months of preparation, the two FR 450 Rally powered riders have entered the final stages of their preparations ahead of the 41st edition of the event, which will be contested exclusively in Peru during January 6-17, 2019.
Two-time FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Pablo Quintanilla will head to Peru following a stellar season of international rally competition. Battling for victory in each rally he participated in during 2018, Pablo wrapped up the year as the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship runner-up. Entering what will be the seventh Dakar of his career in 2019, the Chilean rally star will launch his attack for the top step of the podium in Lima.
Putting in considerable racing kilometres aboard his FR 450 Rally in 2018, Andrew Short has gained valuable knowledge during his first full year of rally competition and is fired up for success in what will be his second participation in the Dakar Rally. Looking to make use of the experience he’s acquired, the American will be eyeing a good overall result in Peru in January.
Kicking off on January 6 in Lima, the 2019 edition of the Dakar Rally features a giant rally route entirely within Peru. With 10 demanding rally stages and approximately 70% being sandy dunes, the event is widely expected to be tough on all competitors.
Husqvarna Motorcycles are pleased to release the complete imagery and video of the 2019 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Dakar Rally team, featuring official team riders Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short.
Pablo Quintanilla: “I really want to do well at the coming Dakar. I feel great and my motivation is really high for 2019. I want to be the best I can be and battle for the best possible result of my career. I had a good season in 2018 and now I am ready for the Dakar. Despite my injury midway through the season, I managed to keep battling for the championship until the very last stage in Morocco. The Dakar is the most important race of the season and we are all working hard throughout the year for this race. My personal goal is to be giving 100% of my effort on each day and in each stage. This is what will make me happy and will also allow me to battle for the overall victory. My priority is to take one day at a time, trying to stay focused on my goals and also trying to enjoy what I am doing. The 2019 Dakar will be shorter and more intense, but I want to do my job and race for the win.”
Andrew Short: “I’ve learned a lot during the 2018 season and now I’m ready to put this experience to good use at the Dakar. The season started for me in Morocco with the Merzouga Rally and since then we’ve also raced in Chile and Peru. I had some good race time and was able to study the strategy of the top guys. I saw how fast they can go in specific sections and kept improving my speed while navigating correctly. In Peru, I was able to battle with them all the way to the finish and I was happy to get my first podium in rally racing. It gives me extra confidence knowing that the 2019 Dakar will take place in Peru. I am looking forward to going back racing in the massive Peruvian dunes. My goal for the coming Dakar is not on a number or place, it’s just to continue to race with the top guys. I want to be even more competitive in January and be as close as possible to the front.”
Pela Renet – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally Team Manager: “We had a very strong season and our riders are in top form going into the coming Dakar. In 2018 Pablo was battling for victories in every race he took part in. We want him to maintain that same momentum heading to Peru. We know he has the experience and speed to battle for victory and we will do everything possible to make it happen for him. As for Andrew, he earned his first podium in Peru in September and he is feeling comfortable racing in sandy conditions. We want to see him continue making progress in 2019. The atmosphere within our team is great and our riders are happy with the performance of our rally bikes. With the coming Dakar featuring just 10 stages, we expect the pace to be high. It’ll be an intense race for everyone.”