Courtesy of Husqvarna Motorcycles
ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING DUO CONTINUE BATTLING FOR A GOOD OVERALL RESULT
Reaching the end of a challenging two-day-long Marathon Stage without any problems, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short have posted the seventh and 11th fastest times respectively on the fourth stage of the 2018 Merzouga Rally.
After more than 1,000km in the dunes and dusty trails of Morocco, Quintanilla and Short were faced with a challenging stage four at the Merzouga Rally. Enjoying a solid start to the day’s timed special they were among a large group of racers who lost the correct route less than 10km before the finish of the special.
Making use of his vast rally racing experience, Quintanilla managed to salvage a seventh-place result for the day. With just one shorter stage remaining at this year’s Merzouga Rally, the reigning Cross-Country Rallies World Champion is now fifth in the provisional overall standings. Showing some great speed in the opening part of today’s timed special, Andrew Short brought his FR 450 Rally machine home in 11th position.
Continuing to learn and collect racing experience, the American is looking forward to tomorrow’s fifth and final stage of the Merzouga Rally. Featuring a mass, motocross-styled start, the fifth and final stage of this year’s Merzouga Rally features a 48km timed special contested 100% in the massive dunes of the Moroccan desert. It will be the last step on the way to the finish of this demanding week-long event in Africa.
Pablo Quintanilla: “It’s been a long two days of racing and I’m happy to reach the end of the Marathon Stage. In the first part yesterday I did quite well. I got off to a good pace from the start and managed to post the second fastest time for the day. I felt good on my bike and wanted to keep the same momentum on the second part of the Marathon Stage. Today I was quite consistent. I had a good feeling on the bike, but less than 10 kilometres before the finish the notes on the roadbook were not so clear and that lead all of us who were up front to make exactly the same mistake. After that I did my best to make up some time but had a collision with another rider who was going off the right tracks. It wasn’t the best of days for me but it is what it is and we move on. I’m still highly motivated to do well tomorrow so that I can get as high as possible in the overall.”
Andrew Short: “This Marathon Stage has been another big learning experience for me. I did quite well in the first part yesterday. In the morning there were some cool sections in the sand and some dry rivers and I really enjoyed riding my bike there. Then as the day went on the terrain changed and we had to race through some really rocky and treacherous sections. Overall, it was very cool to have this Marathon Stage. These are the stages that we will remember. It’s nice to have that kind of camaraderie with the other riders and you also have to think and make sure you protect your bike throughout the day. Today I had a good feeling on the bike, but a few mistakes and a few small crashes didn’t let me battle for a great result. Right before the end of today’s stage I got lost together with many other riders. I’m really happy I got to do this race and I feel I learned a lot. It was a good experience and I am looking forward to reaching the finish of the Merzouga Rally tomorrow.”
2018 Merzouga Rally – Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Alessandro Botturi (Yamaha) 03:23:31
2. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 03:27:15
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 03:32:03
4. Toby Price (KTM) 03:35:25
5. Laia Sanz (KTM) 03:41:47
6. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 03:44:20
7. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 03:48:03
11. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 03:55:10
2018 Merzouga Rally – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 13:26:49
2. Toby Price (KTM) 13:31:51
3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 13:33:20
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 13:34:05
5. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 13:38:04
6. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 14:04:15
11. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 14:28:29