Pablo Quintanilla, second in the 2022 Dakar ahead of the grand finale

 Pablo Quintanilla, second in the 2022 Dakar ahead of the grand finale

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The 2022 Dakar Rally enters its final stretch, with the frontrunners positioning themselves before the showdown. Today, most riders opted for a tactical strategy rather than leaving anything to chance in tomorrow’s decisive stage in Bisha.

For the Monster Energy Honda Team, Quintanilla moves onto the rally’s virtual final podium, while Joan Barreda finished third on the scene.

With just two days left to run, competitors were looking to play their best hand on stage ten – for the most part, a fast-paced, navigation-filled route including 375 kilometres against the clock. 

The high number of parallel tracks made it a challenging task for some riders who were forced to make split-second decisions about which paths to follow. 

And they completed 759 kilometres from Wadi Ad-Dawasir to Bisha, including the particular stage and liaison sections. 

Fortunately, all four Monster Energy Honda Team riders aboard their Honda CRF450 Rally bikes made it back, problem-free, to the final bivouac of the Dakar 2022.

Monster Energy Honda Team’s Spanish rider Joan Barreda set an acceptable pace today and, despite a minor mistake that forced him to retrace several kilometres, he posted third. 

However, a subsequent penalty of 2 minutes for speeding in a transfer zone left him fifth in the overall standings, 8’47 behind the leader.

Rally

Pablo Quintanilla, tenth on the day, moved up into second place in the overall rally standings with two days left before the rally ends in Jeddah.

 The Chilean carved out notable times throughout the stage, pulling ahead at the start before eventually dropping seven minutes to the day’s winner. 

Tomorrow, on the Bisha loop, his goal will be to finish as far ahead as possible. In the general standings, the rider from Viña del Mar, who received a 1-minute penalty as team-mate Barreda, holds second, 5’15 behind the leader.

Ricky Brabec and José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo had the challenging task of opening the track today. The pair led for most of the day, only shedding time towards the end of the special. 

Both riders are in the top ten in the overall rankings, but with over 38 minutes separating them from the 2022 Dakar leaders.

Tomorrow’s stage

Tomorrow will undoubtedly be one of the most interesting special stages of recent years, where several riders will make their bids for a final podium place in Jeddah the day after tomorrow. 

The battle will be epic. The loop to the Bisha bivouac will feature a total of 346 kilometres of timed section out of the 501-kilometre total stage with 155 kilometres of liaison sections. 

Large helpings of sand and dunes will be present on the menu of this, the most decisive stage of the Dakar 2022.

Ricky Brabec

Today was good. It was stage 10, so we were almost at the finish. I was upfront with Nacho most of the day. We made a slight mistake which cost a little time, but in the end, it was perfect for us because we were in a good spot for stage 11, which is supposed to be tricky. As we said before, we don’t know which stage is challenging or not. It’s up in the air as far as strategy goes. 

Tomorrow we are in a good spot to push and see what we have to do. I’m thrilled with this. The team’s doing a good job. After tomorrow we will know exactly where we’ll finish. I feel we have a lot of energy, so we’ll do our best.

Pablo Quintanilla 

I’m happy; it was a good day. Today it was necessary to manage the race well ahead of tomorrow’s stage, which will be vital in defining this Dakar.

 I had some references from the riders in front of me, and I tried to manage it in the best way possible so as not to lose time and to be able to start from a good position tomorrow.

 I think it went well. The race is still open, and tomorrow will be an intense day, where we will have to push all day long. We’re going to try to rest now to be in good shape for tomorrow’s stage.

via Honda

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