A flying Ruben Faria and Pablo Quintanilla give the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory team a good start in the 2016 Dakar Rally.
Perhaps it should be expected, since neither Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory rider Ruben Faria nor his teammate are Dakar newbs, but the all-new factory Husky team is nonetheless off to a solid start in the 2016 Dakar Rally, following their respective runner-up and 10th-place finishes in today’s Stage 2 in Argentina.
Faria barely missed out on giving the factory Husqvarna team a Stage win in its Dakar Rally debut, leading much of the 354-kilometer timed special before ultimately coming in 20 seconds behind Red Bull KTM rider Toby Price through the last section of the stage. Thanks to a great prologue finish, he is only 1 minute and 2 seconds behind Price in the overall rally standings.
“Today I started second behind (Joan) Barreda, I pushed a little bit and I caught him,” Faria said. “After that I rode at a good speed. I’ve got a good feeling with the bike, and the bike was really good. We’re at the beginning of the race, but I’m feeling good.”
Quintanilla finished 10th in the stage and is only 4 minutes 32 out of the lead.
“It was a fast stage with a lot of vegetation,” Quintanilla said. “I didn’t feel too good at the beginning of the stage, so I was conscious of not taking any risks. I think it was a good start to the race. Some parts had quite a lot of mud after yesterday’s rain but the rest was okay.”
The factory’s rookie, former World Enduro Champion Pela Renet did not enjoy the same kind of start as his teammates. The Frenchman struggled with the traffic of his fellow motorcyclists and the ATV competitors as well to end up 41st in Stage 2, 22 minutes behind the leaders. Renet is currently classified 45th in the overall rally standings. Meanwhile, Husqvarna-supported rider Jacopo Cerutti of Italy finished 31st and is about 16 minutes out of the lead.
Tomorrow brings another long stage, measuring 663 kilometers with a timed special of 314 kilometers on the route from Termas de Río Hondo to San Salvadore de Jujuy. Much of the route will be through the mountains, and organizers are concerned that the route could be more hazardous than usual if heavy rain should fall.