Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla moves into the lead of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge at the end of stage two.
With a 6 am start from the bivouac for stage 2, the motorcycle contingent did not suffer from the heat and it actually rained in the dunes of Abu Dhabi.
The overcast sky, the mist and the sand must have reminded Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) of the coastal desert of his native Chile. Throughout the 278 km, he stayed on the offensive, winning the Special with a lead of 2'17 over Sam Sunderland (KTM) and 3'57 over Toby Price (KTM) and moving to top of the provisional standings.
“278 km of sand was a long haul but it was a good Special for me,” told Quintanilla. “I set off in the ideal spot, in third place and after the refuelling I rode with Tony and Sam. It was fun but the sand was soft and it even rained a little!”
Sam Sunderland, who was second, has found his pace…
“I knew Toby would be riding flat out this morning after setting off first, so I had to work hard to catch up with him at km70. After that I was able to relax a bit, but then Pablo turned up and towards the end I drove my front wheel into soft sand, losing a few precious seconds”.
Toby Price, who lost his spot at the top of the leader board, said: “It was a long Special. I opened the trail and the others caught me up. After that we rode together. But I’m happy. It was a good day and I’ve gained a bit more experience!”
Pela Renet (Husqvarna) has come to terms with the desert, finishing in fourth ahead of the incredible Laia Sanz (KTM), in fifth place after this long and arduous day.
Behind the phenomenon Laia Sanz, Mohammed Al Balooshi (KTM) took an honourable sixth place ahead of Arana, Mc Bride and FIM Junior Cross Country Rallies World Champion Kuba Piatek.
It was a bad day for Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues, who had to go back to bivouac with a technical problem, losing the regulation 9h for a missed stage. However, he will be at the start tomorrow.
Classification (After Stage 2)
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL) Husqvarna 450 Rally Factory 1 7:43.28
2. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1 7:45.11
3. Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1 7:46.16
4. Mohammed Al Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica 8:11.11
5. Txomin Arana Cobeaga (ESP) Husqvarna 450 Rally Replica 1 8:11.43
6. Jakub Piatek (POL) KTM 450 Rally Replica 1/4 8:16.07
7. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1/3 8:16.59
8. Pierre Alexandre Renet (FRA) 8:17.38
9. David McBride (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Replica 1 8:20.52
10. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHL) 8:36.25