Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory racing Team’s Quintanilla & Renet set for Final Stage Battle at Desert Challenge

Quintanilla and Renet Well Placed for Top Finish

April 5, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – On a day that once again saw very strategic stage results at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team’s Pela Renet finished second in the penultimate stage, while Pablo Quintanilla was sixth.

The stage results continue to reflect the specific nature of this race where those first out in each stage have a tactical disadvantage to those who hold their race craft cards close to their chests. In short, going into the final stage, it is the riders who start slightly back in the order who have the biggest advantage.

The rally draws to a close on Thursday with the fifth stage, the Abu Dhabi Aviation (timed special of 234.01 km), and the prospects are quite favourable for both Husqvarna factory riders. Quintanilla of Chile will leave at sixth place in the new starting order of three-minute intervals between the riders. He goes into the stage with just a 1:30.4 deficit to the present overall leader Paolo Gonçalves, whose job it will be to start the navigation and open the tracks. Renet has a more difficult task. He starts behind the leader, however he is also only 1.10.5 minutes off the front pace.

There is a lot at stake for Quintanilla as he is looking for a strong result to launch his bid to retain his 2016 world championship title.  But it will not be easy. In principle the rally is wide open going into the final stage as the group of five lead riders are all within a 1.30-minute margin of the current leader. They are all capable of taking the trophy and the valuable championship points.

Quintanilla’s biggest rivals in the dash for the line will be British rider Sam Sunderland and Austrian Matthias Walkner. They finished 1-2 in the Dakar Rally in January and are both showing excellent form. But Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s French rider Renet has taken a major leap forward at this event. The former enduro world champion was seventh at the Dakar Rally 2017 and has finished 1-2 in two of the stages here in Abu Dhabi.

Pablo Quintanilla:“We knew from the beginning that this was going to be a day for losing time because I had to start in front. But now I have started to play a bit with the strategy for tomorrow, and to take advantage of it because now I have a good starting position. I have the chance to recover some time and that’s good for me. We’ll see tomorrow if this works for me. At the moment everything is going well. The bike is really good and I am very happy with it.”

Pela Renet:“I’m very happy with the stage, with my riding and with the feeling on the bike. But today was just like every day in this rally. It’s an advantage if you start behind and if you start in front, its difficult.”

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is the opening round of the FIM Cross-Countries Rally Championship and round two follows in two weeks time in Qatar.

Stage 4 – ADNOC Special: 250.25 kms

1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:38.15 h
2. Pela Renet (FRA), Husqvarna + 2.34 min
3. Paolo Gonçalves (POR), Honda + 5.34
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), + 8.41
6. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna + 6:01

Overall Standings (after four of five stages)

1. Gonçalves 15:32.56.8 h
2. Walkner + 33.8 sec
3. Renet + 1:10.5 min
4. Sunderland +1:15.7
5. Quintanilla + 1.30.40 

Husqvarna Motorcycles. Tradition on two wheels since 1903.

Husqvarna Motorcycles are widely known and respected in the off-road world for a heritage of competition and numerous motocross and enduro world championships. Originally founded in Sweden in 1903, Husqvarna Motorcycles have been designed and manufactured in Mattighofen, Austria since 2013.

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Source: Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH