Crunch time in Abu Dhabi as Quintanilla takes control with one stage remaining at the Desert Challenge, Sunderland crashes but remains second overall.


A demanding stage four at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge has been a good one for Pablo Quintanilla who took stage victory and regained the lead in the overall standings.

Starting from eight, his finishing position yesterday, Quintanilla chased down the riders in front and pulled good time to regain the overall. He now leads by 6m17s.

Pablo Quintanilla: “Everything is going according to plan and I’m happy about it. Today I had a really good start position and took full advantage of it.

"I made some good passes today and had a good pace from start to finish. I’m happy I got the stage victory but most importantly I am satisfied I made up some good time in the overall. I have a small but decent gap in the lead going into tomorrow’s final stage.”

Behind Quintanilla overall today was Toby Price, still making up time after a problem earlier in the rally, followed by a bank of Hondas led home by veteran Paulo Goncalves.


Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2018 Toby Price KTM Factory Racing Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Marcin Kin


Sam Sunderland lead out today’s stage after winning yesterday but “took a bit of a digger” 15kms into the 240km special, bursting his water pack in the process.

“Tough day,” Sunderland posted on Instagram. “I knew it would be hard to open the stage and not lose too much time to the guys starting behind.

“I took a bit of a digger 15kms into the 240km special and burst my USWE pack so no water all stage was a bit rough! Second overall and last day tomorrow, keep going!”

With tomorrow’s timed special featuring a motocross-styled start, the riders will race together for the first time in the rally instead of intervals between riders based on previous day’s result.

That means the race to catch riders in front isn’t there as an incentive and, in theory, Quintanilla has it in the bag if he can play it safe and watch the time gaps.


Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2018 Honda Rally Team Kevin Benavides Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Rally Zone


Featuring a total of 356km, the fifth and final stage at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge includes a 218km long timed special.


2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Stage 4 Provisional Classification

  1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 03:16:53
  2. Toby Price (KTM) 03:19:28
  3. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 03:22:35
  4. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 03:23:36
  5. Michael Metge (Honda) 03:23:41
  6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 03:25:16


2018 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Provisional Overall Standings After Stage 4

  1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 14:03:06
  2. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 14:09:23
  3. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 14:13:05
  4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 14:14:07
  5. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 14:21:05
  6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 14:23:12



jon.pearson enduro21 april 2017

Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester