Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla has excelled on an extremely challenging stage two of the 2020 Dakar Rally to finish in third place. In doing so, the Chilean rider moved himself up to second in the provisional overall standings. Teammate Andrew Short finished 10th following a fall in the final kilometres of the special.
The 2020 Dakar Rally continues to test all competitors with its variety of terrain and complex navigation. Stage two challenged riders with a 367-kilometre timed special that covered a mixture of rocky tracks through ravines and faster, open sandy pistes.
Like all riders, Pablo Quintanilla only received his pre-coloured road book minutes before the start of the day’s timed special. Pushing hard right from the off, the Chilean ace reached the first waypoint in third place and from there maintained a solid pace to the finish. As the first half of the event’s Super Marathon stage forbids any outside assistance or the changing of equipment, Pablo was sure to conserve both his Husqvarna FR 450 Rally and its tyres in order to stay competitive for Tuesday’s stage three.
Andrew Short enjoyed a strong pace during the first half of stage two. The American rider was able to make up valuable minutes on the riders ahead after setting off ninth into the timed special. Unfortunately, Short suffered a fall during the closing kilometres of the stage, which resulted in a damaged navigation tower. Reaching the finish in one piece and as the 10th fastest rider, Andrew now faces a challenging stage three.
The third stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally totals 504 kilometres of which 427 are timed special. The predominantly sandy stage follows a loop, based at the city of Neom on the coast of the Red Sea. As the second half of the event’s Super Marathon stage, riders will need to conserve their tyres and machines right to the finish.
Pablo Quintanilla: “I’m really pleased with my day today. Navigation was challenging all through the special but I didn’t make too many mistakes. I enjoyed the mix of terrain today, a lot of it was very similar to back home in Chile and so I felt comfortable on the bike. Toward the end of the stage I decided to play a little strategy and try to improve my position for tomorrow. I think it will work well and I’m looking forward to the stage.”
Andrew Short: “My day was going well right up until near the end. I came up on one of the dangers but wasn’t quite able to get the bike stopped in time and ended up crashing. I’m ok but I damaged my road book, which on a normal stage would be fine – we’d just fix it – but as this is the Super Marathon stage that’s impossible. So, tomorrow is going to be really tough. I might be able to follow someone, but it certainly looks like I might lose a little more time on stage three.”
2020 Dakar Rally – Stage 2 Provisional Classification
1. Ross Branch (KTM) 3:39:10
2. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 3:40:34
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 3:41:31
4. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 3:42:50
5. Luciano Benavides (KTM) 3:42:54
6. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:44:07
10. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 3:46:10
2020 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 7:05:22
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 7:06:40
3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 7:06:54
4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 7:07:22
5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 7:09:33
6. Ross Branch (KTM) 7:09:41
11. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 7:14:46
Source: Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing press release