Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla has safely completed the 12th stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally, securing a seventh-place overall event result after almost 49 hours of racing.
In what was an incredibly testing 43rd edition of the Dakar, covering over 7,500km through the varied terrain of the middle eastern desert, Quintanilla stayed strong to put in solid results day after day, which ultimately paid off and enabled him to secure his top-10 finish. Despite struggling to feel comfortable during the early stages of the event, the Chilean worked hard with his team to find a good set-up and was ultimately able to settle into a fast rhythm later in the race, claiming a runner-up result on stage 11.
The 12th and final stage of the rally didn’t go Pablo’s way. Setting off second and pushing for another strong result, he lost time after struggling to find one waypoint. Settling for a safe finish to his race, the former FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion carried on to the end of the timed special, claiming 21st fastest. Although not securing the result he had hoped for coming into the race, Quintanilla was positive about his performance and the event as a whole.
Luciano Benavides, who sadly crashed out of the race on stage nine had also shown encouraging pace, with the young Argentinian sitting safely inside the top 10 overall at the point of his withdrawal. Benavides will now take some time to rest and heal the shoulder he injured in his crash and hopes to be back onboard his FR 450 Rally as soon as possible.
Pablo Quintanilla: “Finally the race is over and I’m happy to finish another Dakar. For sure, we didn’t receive the result we had hoped for but over the whole race we worked really hard as a team and were able to identify a few things we can improve. I’m happy with my riding, especially on what was such a tough event, and my fitness has been good too. To finish inside the top 10 is always good and seventh is still an extremely good result, I just know I should be fighting for the podium. We’ll go away and work hard now this year and we’ll definitely be back stronger in 2022.”
Pela Renet – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally Team Manager: “So, Dakar is over for another year. Pablo finished in seventh position, which is a strong result, but definitely a little disappointing for him and the team. After his second-place finish last year, we know he is capable of fighting for the win, but as it happened, this year it was just not possible. But this is Dakar, and he will come back stronger. For Luciano, it’s a great shame he got injured and had to retire, but his injury is not too bad. He will require some surgery and some time off the bike, but he will be back soon I’m sure. He definitely showed some good speed over the race and was doing a very good job on the day he crashed. Finally, a big thank you to the whole Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team. They did an incredible job and worked very hard and even when things were not going so well, everyone held their heads up and did their best, so thank you again to all.”
2021 Dakar Rally – Stage 12 Provisional Classification
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 2:17:02
2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 2:19:19
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 2:21:15
4. Skyler Howes (KTM) 2:22:51
5. Daniel Sanders (KTM) 2:24:13
6. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 2:27:33
21. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 2:44:50
2021 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 12)
1. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 47:18:14
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 47:23:10
3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 47:34:11
4. Daniel Sanders (KTM) 47:57:06
5. Skyler Howes (KTM) 48:10:47
6. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 48:16:44
7. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 48:44:53