Photo Credit: Marcin Kin
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team’s Pela Renet took his first stage victory in the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on Monday.
Renet completed the 510 kilometre day including 279 kilometres of timed special in 4:05.05 hours and was two minutes ahead of second-placed Paulo Gonçalves of Portugal.
Austrian Matthias Walkner was third. Riders once again had to contend with the extreme desert heat.
Renet was ideally positioned for a good result in the stage. He started in fifth position, which gave him the advantage of some tracks to follow in this rally where strategy is important throughout the five stages.
“When you win, it’s always a good day,” told Renet. “But it was not an easy stage and again very long. I started fifth so I had some lines in the dunes, but I still had to push. I rode all day alone and I only caught Pablo about 50 km before the end. But I’m very happy with the result.”
But what benefited Renet was also to disadvantage his teammate. Quintanilla was second out after Sunday’s winner Sam Sunderland and the riders in front always have the responsibility of opening the track. Where astute navigation is a key part of the sport, this can make the difference.
“We knew from the beginning it would be a day to lose time because we started in front, but that’s how it is,” said Quintanilla. “This race is something special. Tomorrow we have a really good starting position so we will try to recover this time.”
Goncalves leads the overall standings after stage two from Walkner. Renet is third overall and Quintanilla is fourth. Only one minute and 20 seconds between the top four riders,
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is the first of five rounds in the 2017 FIM Cross-Country World Rally Championship.