Pablo Quintanilla delivered the goods on Wednesday’s stage three of the Dakar Rally. Securing a close runner-up result on the day’s timed special, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna ace is now the rally’s provisional overall leader with three out of 10 stages contested in Peru.
Featuring a mixture of dune riding and some mountain passes, stage three of this year’s Dakar was highly positive for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team.
Putting his experience to good use, Quintanilla enjoyed a mistake free stage to cross the line with the second fastest time of the day. In a total time of more than four hours, Pablo was just 15 seconds slower than stage winner Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait. The Chilean rider now holds an 11-minute lead at the top of the rally’s overall standings.
Thursday’s (today) stage five of this year’s Dakar is also the first part of the two-day long marathon stage. It features a 405km timed special stage in a total distance of 511km. The stage will bring competitors to the Moquegua bivouac where they will have to prepare their machines for the next day without any external assistance.
Pablo Quintanilla: “The real Dakar has just started and I’m happy with where I’m at right now. Today we had a difficult stage. There was a lot of fog and in some parts you couldn’t see far ahead. If you tried to push, you ended up missing the right tracks.
“I took my time there and rode really carefully. At one crucial point in the mountains I made the right decision and gained some time to my rivals. Navigation today was really tricky. I’m having fun on my bike at the moment and I want to keep that same momentum going for the stages to come.”