Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes and Luciano Benavides have both delivered solid performances on the fourth stage of the 2021 Rallye du Maroc. Putting in his best performance of the event to date, Howes completed the stage as seventh fastest. Benavides, having recovered from the bout of sickness that plagued him earlier in the event, maintained an excellent pace through the fast, stony tracks to finish 10th.
Continuing to make improvements to his 2022 FR 450 Rally, Skyler Howes rode an excellent stage four – on pace right from the start and battling inside the top three. Struggling to validate one particular waypoint, the American unfortunately lost several minutes to his rivals around the halfway point of the special but was able to skilfully get back on track to complete the remainder of the stage without issue. Ultimately posting the seventh quickest time, Howes was pleased with how he rode, and the adjustments made to his bike, and now looks forward to a strong finish to the event on Wednesday’s final stage five.
Also enjoying a good day in the desert, Luciano Benavides has regained some of the strength he had lost earlier in the week due to illness and was able to deliver another strong performance through the fast tracks of Morocco. Despite setting off as the sixth rider to enter the special, Luciano maintained an excellent pace, riding alone and navigating well though much of the stage. A few small mistakes set him back a couple of minutes, but overall, the young Argentinian was happy with his performance, and continues to build his speed and confidence as the rally progresses.
The fifth and final stage of the 2021 Rallye du Maroc will cover a total of 444 kilometres, 291 of which will be timed special stage.
Skyler Howes: “Stage four was a much better day for me. We made a setting change yesterday and it was definitely positive – I felt much more like myself today. I did do a couple of donuts there out in the dunes looking for a waypoint and that cost me a couple of minutes, but on the whole I had a trouble-free day. We still have a couple of adjustments to make with the settings, but we’re definitely going in the right direction. I had a lot of fun on the stage today, so with one day left, I’m looking forward to it.”
Luciano Benavides: “It was another really long day today. Thankfully, I’m feeling better from the illness I had earlier in the week, and I was able to stay focused and keep to a good pace. I was riding up near the front and did make a couple of mistakes that cost me some time, but overall I’m happy with my performance. The bike is feeling great, there are still a couple of things we can work on, but this is normal. I’m looking forward to the final day now and getting to the finish.”
2021 Rallye du Maroc – Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 3:50:34
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:51:10
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:53:29
4. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:56:21
5. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 3:56:51
6. Toby Price (KTM) 3:57:26
7. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 3:58:05
10. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 4:03:39
2021 Rally du Maroc – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 14:47:02
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 14:47:39
3. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 14:52:48
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 14:54:36
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 15:01:55
6. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 15:13:43
13. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 15:38:31