Skyler Howes claims top-four result on Dakar Rally stage three

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes continues to put in strong and consistent results at the 2022 Dakar Rally, claiming his second fourth-place stage finish in a row to move himself up to fourth in the provisional overall standings. Skyler now trails the event leader by under four minutes. Teammate Luciano Benavides completed the shortened 255-kilometre special in 15th place.

Heavy rain in the area forced the organisers to cut short stage three, and with wet sand covering the tracks and dunes, the special delivered a fast-paced challenge to all competitors. Howes, who found the conditions very much to his liking, pushed hard from his fourth-place start position, making very few errors and catching the three riders ahead of him before the end of the stage. Opening the special from there on, the American was able to maintain his position on the time sheets, despite his rivals chasing him down. Another fourth-place stage result means that Howes now lies fourth in the overall standings and will also enjoy a strong start position for Wednesday’s long 465-kilometre timed special from Al Qaysumah to Riyadh.

Continuing to move himself up the overall order, Luciano Benavides put in a solid ride on stage three to claim 15th place, just over six minutes down on the winner. Completing the special without error or incident, Benavides moves up to 25th in the rankings. The young Argentinian is determined to make up for the time lost on stage one, but with nine days still left to race, he knows that a consistent pace without any mistakes is key to fulfilling that goal.

Skyler Howes: “Today was really fun – fast like yesterday with plenty of tracks and some technical dunes. I started off fourth and stayed there till around kilometre 250 where there was a tricky-to-find waypoint and I managed to catch up with the three in front. From there to the finish I opened the whole way, which was really fun and good experience. I did ok on my navigation today, not perfect but it all went smoothly, and I was able to stay at a good pace even from the front. Fourth on the stage is really encouraging, so I’m stoked and already looking forward to tomorrow.”

Luciano Benavides: “Stage three has definitely been the best day for me so far in the race in terms of my rhythm and navigation. I didn’t make any big mistakes and was able to set my own pace throughout the special. Tomorrow is the longest day of the rally, and it looks like it’s going to include some really tricky navigation, so I think I have a good start position to hopefully make up some time. My position in the overall is still not too great because of the time lost on day one, but there are still many days to go, and I’ll keep on giving my best.”

2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 3 Provisional Classification

1. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 2:34:41
2. Toby Price (KTM) 2:35:44 
3. Mason Klein (KTM) 2:35:55 
4. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 2:36:07 
5. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 2:37:36

15. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:41:02

2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 3)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 11:13:40
2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 11:13:44
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 11:15:10
4. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 11:17:35
5. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 11:22:34

25. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 12:15:54