Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Short wins the 2019 Rally du Maroc securing second place finish at the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in the process.
After taking the lead on the previous stage, Andrew Short went on to claim the overall win at the 2019 Rally du Maroc, his first ever world championship victory. It was double-bubble for the American who finishes the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship as runner-up.
“I can’t believe it – it doesn’t seem real right now.” Said Short at the rally finish. “My main goal coming to Morocco was to finish second in the championship, but to take the win feels unreal,” admitted Andrew.
“I was second at the Silk Way, which was huge for me but there were a few of the top riders missing. Now all the guys are here at this event getting ready for Dakar and to take the win with such stiff competition is amazing. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the team and the opportunity they have given me over the last couple of years.”
Going in to the final day, Short had a 28 second advantage on his teammate Pablo Quintanilla so he knew he would have no room to relax at the final 168 kilometres timed special. Even a crash early on in the stage didn’t slow down the American who crossed the finish in fifth, which was enough to confirm himself amongst the sport’s best riders.
Pablo Quintanilla finished second creating another historic moment in securing the first ever one-two rally result for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team. The Chilean has spent the majority of the 2019 season recovering from the injury sustained at the 2019 Dakar Rally but clocked his second podium finish in one month here in Morocco.
“The race was really good for me. I hurt my leg right at the beginning, which slowed my pace a little but after getting used to the new style of road book I finished second, which I am really pleased about as it’s only my second race of the year.” Said Quintanilla.
“It shows the work we have been doing with the team and also preparation with the bike is really paying off. I’m also really happy for Andrew for getting his first win and finishing second in the championship. We have two months to go till Dakar and I think we are really strong as a team and I’m looking forward to it – it’s a really important race for all of us.”
Monster Energy Honda Rally Team rider Joan Barreda, went a gear up on the last day to finish third. The Spaniard was fourth in the overall entering the last stage, three minutes shy from third, but a great performance on the fifth stage delivered the last podium spot.
“Fighting for the podium was something possible, so today I went out to try for it and things went well,” said Barreda.
“It has been a difficult race, with many different types of terrain, some complicated navigation. It has not been bad as preparation for the Dakar, which is the big objective that we have and which we have been preparing for all season. The team has worked hard this season and now there is only the final stretch of preparation before the 2020 Dakar.”
Luciano Benavides bags FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies World Championship
Luciano Benavides wrapped his 2019 season with third place on the final stage in Morocco to finish sixth overall, topping the Junior Class of the event and with it the 2019 FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The Argentinian will now focus in carrying his momentum into the upcoming Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.
“It has been a really good rally for me, I finished sixth overall and first in the Junior Class. It’s been the ideal rally to build my confidence ahead of Dakar and get use to the new road book system.” said Benavides.
“I’m really pleased with my rhythm – I was always in a good position and trying to take the fight to the top guys. My times are not too far off now so I’m really happy and looking forward to Dakar.”
2019 Rally du Maroc provisional overall classification:
- Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 18:03:54
- Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) +1,21
- Joan Barreda (Honda) +2,44
- Toby Price (KTM) +2,51
- Ricky Brabec (Honda) +4,07
- Luciano Benavides (KTM) +7,17
- Matthias Walkner (KTM) +7,38
- Ross Evan Branch (KTM) +14,20
- Kevin Benavides (Honda) +20,30
- Franco Caimi (Yamaha) +21,16
More information: RallyduMaroc.comPhoto Credit: Marcin Kin + Rally Zone Igor AguadoEnduro21 Junior Editorigor.firstname.lastname@example.org