Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has delivered his best result of the Rallye du Maroc so far, claiming seventh on the ultra-technical stage three. Skyler Howes maintained a solid pace on the rough, broken tracks to finish in 16th.
Suffering throughout Sunday’s stage two, due to a stomach illness, Luciano Benavides regrouped and came back fighting on day three of the rally. With the stage primarily made up of faster, stony tracks, rather that the near-endless dunes seen on previous days, Benavides rode to his strengths and didn’t take any risks on the unforgiving terrain. Taking care to minimise any navigational mistakes throughout, while continuing to become accustomed to his new FR 450 Rally, the young Argentinian produced a strong performance that ultimately secured him seventh place at the finish.
Also taking extra care on the cut-up tracks of the special, Skyler Howes focused on his navigation, and by two-thirds into the stage the American was well inside the top 10 on time. Like many other competitors, Howes struggled with one particular note on the road book that resulted in him losing track with the prescribed route and having to double back on himself to recover. Despite losing close to 10 minutes with the issue, Skyler was pleased with how the rest of the stage had gone and looks to continue improving over the final two days of the event.
Tuesday’s fourth and penultimate stage of the event will challenge riders with a total of 546 kilometres to cover, 367 of which will be timed special stage.
Luciano Benavides: “Stage three was not too bad for me. I feel really good to get back here to the finish. Yesterday I had a problem with my stomach, and I wasn’t able to eat properly for 24 hours, and it had an effect on my strength and focus. I rode well today and didn’t make any big mistakes with my navigation so I’m please with my result. The bike feels really good and it’s definitely helping my confidence. Looking forward to tomorrow now.”
Skyler Howes: “Day three started out pretty slow for me. At first, we were going over a lot of the same ground we went over yesterday, and after the cars had been through the terrain had become quite rough. I eased my pace through there a little, just to stay safe. After the fuel stop a lot of people made quite a big navigational error – myself included – but I managed to figure it out quite fast, so from there to the finish there was a group of five or six of us racing to the finish. It was a strange day today, but we’re back safe and we’ll just keep moving forward.”
2021 Rallye du Maroc – Stage 3 Provisional Classification
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:30:32
2. Sebastian Buhler (Hero) 3:32:36
3. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 3:35:56
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 3:36:18
5. Franco Caimi (Hero) 3:36:44 +6:12
6. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:38:13
7. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:39:12
16. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 3:46:53
2021 Rally du Maroc – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 3]
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 10:43:43
2. Joan Barreda (Honda) 10:53:25 +9:42
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 10:54:10
4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 10:55:52
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 11:01:16
6. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 11:02:14
8. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 11:10:04
14. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 11:40:26