Following months of intense preparation, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team are all-set for the longest and toughest challenge in the annual rally calendar, the 2018 Dakar Rally. Featuring reigning FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Pablo Quintanilla and highly-experienced racer Andrew Short, the team will tackle the world’s most demanding rally aboard the latest edition of the FR 450 Rally machine.
For two-time FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Pablo Quintanilla, the 2018 Dakar Rally will be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate his skills in tackling long and demanding rally stages. Working hard to prepare himself for this big challenge during the 2017 season, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rally star will be launching an attack for the top step of the podium at this 40th edition of the Dakar Rally.
Switching to rally racing following a stellar career as a top-level motocross racer, American Andrew Short is fired up for a good overall performance at the 2018 Dakar Rally. Enjoying some productive months of testing and training, the acclaimed US racer has his eyes set on reaching the finish line in Córdoba, Argentina.
Kicking off this Saturday, January 6 in Lima, Peru the 2018 Dakar Rally will see competitors contest 14 gruelling stages all the way through the Bolivian altiplanos and towards the WRC-styled tracks of Argentina. Including more than 5.000 km of timed specials and with a total distance of almost 9.000 km to be run by all, this 40th edition of the prestigious annual event will be one of the most challenging in recent memory. Featuring an impressive seven 100% offroad stages to be contested in the massive dunes and offroad sections of the three South American countries the 2018 Dakar Rally will be a real adventure.
Pablo Quintanilla: “I feel great going into this year’s Dakar. The last two seasons have been amazing and we managed to secure the World Championship, but the Dakar is something completely different. It is the first and also the biggest race of the year. As the World Champion, there is always expectations and maybe some added pressure but I know exactly what I need to do. I have trained really hard for this event and I want to start it on a high note. Winning the Dakar has been my dream ever since I started racing rallies and I will do my best to make it true. I feel really good on my bike at the moment. As a team, we are really solid and this is also a big advantage for such a long and challenging event. I want to enjoy the race and continue learning. The sand dunes and the altitude stages make this year’s event even more tough but I want to do my job and race for the victory.”
Andrew Short: “I’m really excited about taking the start of my first Dakar. After racing motocross and supercross for 16 years as a professional experience becomes automatic year after year. Being a rookie for rally racing I can admit the anticipation and nerves are higher than normal. Since I took the decision to switch into rally racing a few months ago, I did everything possible to better prepare myself for the Dakar challenge. My goal is to keep my mind calm during the next few days and be ready to take in all the new experiences. I want to learn and improve as the race goes on. The cold and the heat and the sand dunes will be the biggest challenge for me and not so much the sand dunes. I’m really excited for this challenge and I believe it’s going to be a life experience. I want to get to the end of this race so that I can get better for the future.”