Following on from yesterday’s positive results for Husqvarna Factory Racing at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Luciano Benavides has raced to an impressive stage victory on the penultimate day of the rally. The Argentine was on form throughout the 243-kilometre special, delivering a faultless ride to claim a deserved debut stage win ahead of the final day of the event. Adding to the success for the team, Skyler Howes narrowly missed out on a top-five finish, ultimately posting the sixth-fastest time.
As the 11th rider to enter stage four, Luciano Benavides was poised for a strong result as he could utilise the lines left in the sand by the leading riders. Despite this known advantage, the Argentine opted to concentrate on his roadbook to avoid any potential deviations from the route and focused on riding his own race. Even at the day’s refuelling station when informed that the win was a strong possibility, Luciano applied the same strategy to the very end of the special, which rewarded him with the first stage win of his career in the FIM Rally-Raid World Championship.
Rounding out a positive day of racing for Husqvarna Factory Racing at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Skyler Howes, lifted by his third-place finish yesterday, completed the stage four special as the sixth fastest rider.
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge draws to a close tomorrow with stage five leading all competitors to the event’s finish line at Yas Marina. With Luciano and Skyler moving up the provisional standings after posting strong results on stage four, both riders are on form and eager to advance even further up the leaderboard on the final day of racing.
Luciano Benavides: “I really wanted a stage win and it feels really good to finally secure one for myself, but also the team as together we have been working really hard. From the start today I pushed really hard and I knew that I had a good opportunity to win after starting in 11th. At the refuelling stop I knew I was in with a good chance of winning but I kept focused on myself and my riding and relied on my roadbook to minimise mistakes, which paid off. I’m so happy to have finally won a stage! Tomorrow I look forward to the challenge of opening the final day of this race and my aim is for another strong result.”
Skyler Howes: “Another positive day today. It took a while to get up to speed early on and then Toby Price caught me, so I rode with him to the end, which helped me to maintain a strong pace. There was some tricky terrain about halfway in but overall, it was a fun stage and a good day on the bike. I’m going to make a few small adjustments with my settings just to fine-tune things a little and then my focus is on a strong final day tomorrow.”
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:04:10
2. Toby Price (KTM) 3:04:42
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:05:14
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:06:02
5. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 3:07:07
6. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 3:07:51
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 14:33:27
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 14:33:50
3. Toby Price (KTM) 14:35:09
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 14:36:01
5. Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) 14:38:36
6. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 14:40:47
9. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 14:44:44
10. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 14:50:10