Rallye

Pablo Quintanilla Tops 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Stage 1

Posted:

Photo of Pablo Quintanilla at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Pablo Quintanilla kept his prologue winning form going on stage one and sits on top of the overall standings. Photo: RallyZone

Prologue winner Pablo Quintanilla has taken victory on the opening stage of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge ahead of Adrien Van Beveren and Ross Branch.

In the overall standings Quintanilla leads Van Beveren with Toby Price third following his fifth place on today’s opening stage.

Going into the depths of the Empty Quarter, Stage 1 connected the city of Al Dhannah and Qasr Al Sarab with a total of 404 kilometers. The Special Stage was 242 km long, added by a liaison of another 162 km. Dunes and sandy tracks made the day, a terrain that meets the profile of Honda riders in a perfect way since all of them are desert specialists.

“This was a great stage for me since I was able to find a good pace from the beginning,” Quintanilla explained. “The terrain was not easy, with many drops in the dunes and some fast parts difficult to see. Everything went well with me and my Honda CRF 450 Rally. I could get the right balance between speed and navigation. Winning the prologue and the first stage means we have started the race on the right foot so let’s continue that way!”

Photo of Adrien Van Beveren at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Adrien Van Beveren finished stage one in the same position he finished the prologue, second. Photo: RallyZone

Adrien Van Beveren spent most of the day alongside Quintanilla but remains focused on the four remaing days.

“Everything went well today, it was a good day in the dunes. The terrain was hard with a lot of broken dunes and valleys, not so easy to find the rhythm. I am happy that Pablo was with me until the end and we could ride fast together. So far the result is good but we have to stay focused knowing there are four more stages to race.

Photo of Ross Branch at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Ross Branch is off to a good start with the third fastest time.

Carrying forward the confidence from his strong Prologue performance, Ross Branch rode steadily with a good pace to finish on the podium.

“Stage 1 is over and done with, and I had a good day,” Branch said. “It was a bit difficult in the morning as I wasn’t sure if I was riding fast or slow. Fortunately, I had a good pace going, the bike was performing really well, and I really enjoyed riding the dunes. Looking forward to a good start in the next stage.”

Photo of Jose Ignacio Cornejo at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
José Ignacio Cornejo. Photo: Rally Zone

José Ignacio Cornejo was happy with fourth and looking to move forward tomorrow.

“It was a good first stage! We started third and that was a risk, then I could reach Skyler Howes and manage to keep racing all the way with him,” Cornejo explained. “I think I did a good job, got some bonus and overall it was a solid performance. Now I am motivated and strong for tomorrow, willing to improve my position in the overall ranking.”

Toby Price got underway with a strong ride, placing fifth on the event’s opening stage one. Combined with his third-place result from Sunday’s short prologue qualifier, Price lies third overall heading into day two.

As the ninth rider to enter the stage, Price made the best use of his later start position to push right from the off. Moving up into third place on time by kilometer 39, Toby continued to attack for the entire special. Losing a couple of minutes in the closing kilometers of the stage, partly as the bonus times of the leading riders came into effect, Price ultimately came home in fifth place.

“A good day today – a little bit different to what we’ve seen in the past at this event,” Price said. “Although the stage was fast with lots of straights and some big gaps between the caps, the dunes threw up a few surprises with some big drops along the way. A few caught me by surprise, so that meant it was difficult to attack the whole time as you didn’t know which of the rises would be cut away. I’m feeling good, and the bike is performing well here, so we’ll keep plugging on and hopefully put in another strong day tomorrow.”

Tomorrow Stage 2 will keep the competition in the same region, with a 257 kilometers tour around Qasr Al Sarab – added by a liaison of 108 km. The action takes place on the depths of the Empty Quarter, with sandy tracks and huge dunes to overcome. For the Monster Energy Honda Team the challenge will be simple: to keep the lead in a day that Pablo Quintanilla and Adrien Van Beveren will open the track.

Photo of Toby Price at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Australian Toby Price is third overall after finishing fifth on the opening stage.

Provisional Results – Stage 1 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023
1 Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 3:00:15
2 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:02:15 +2:00
3 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:03:27 +3:12
4 Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 3:04:31 +4:16
5 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:04:52 +4:37

Provisional Standings – Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023 after 1 of 5 stages
1 Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 3:40:15
2 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:42:31 +2:16
3 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:45:32 +5:17
4 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:45:35 +5:20
5 Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 3:47:51 +7:36

Share Article:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Pinterest
Reddit
Email
Print

More News: Latest Headlines

More News: Latest Headlines

Motocross

Jed Beaton Consolidates Second In The ProMX Championship At Murray Bridge.

Motocross

Kirk Gibbs Snares Second ProMX Podium Of The Season At Murray Bridge

Motocross

Honda Dominates At Round 5 Australian Motocross Championship

Motocross

Alessandro Lupino and Tony Cairoli Give Ducati A 1-2 At Italian Prestige Championship

Enduro

Home Win For Andrea Verona On Day Two At EnduroGP Of Italy

Motocross

Kyle Webster And Alex Larwood Head The Winners List At Murray Bridge ProMX

Hard Enduro

Wade Young Wins Round Three Of FIM HEWC At Xross Hard Enduro Rally

Enduro

Josep Garcia Claims Day One Win At EnduroGP Of Italy

Hard Enduro

Wade Young Extends Lead at Xross Hard Enduro After Graham Jarvis Wins Day Two

U.S Motocross

Washougal National to Host Military Appreciation Race

Supercross

2024 FIM World Supercross Championship Calendar Revealed

Supercross

Max Anstie Signs with Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

What's On This Week

MXGP - R11
MXGP of West Nusa Tenggara (INA) - Lombok
Sunday, June 30th, 2024
SA Motocross Championships - R3
Robe – SA
Sunday, June 30th, 2024
FIM Speedway Grand Prix - Round 6
FIM Speedway GP of Poland, Gorzow
Saturday, June 29th, 2024
Vic Senior MX Championships - Round 3
Goulburn Valley, Vic
Sunday, June 30th, 2024
AMA Pro Motocross - Round 5
The Wick 338 - Southwick, MA
Saturday, June 29th, 2024

Featured:

Triumph Transitions to Terrafirma with the TF250X

Life with a Sherco 300 two-stroke

Time to Pivot with Pivot Pegz?

First Look At The All New 2024 Beta 450RX

2024 Yamaha YZ250F Review

Enhance Your Bike’s Protection With Force Accessories Custom Clutch Cover

What's On This Week

MXGP - R11
MXGP of West Nusa Tenggara (INA) - Lombok
Sunday, June 30th, 2024
SA Motocross Championships - R3
Robe – SA
Sunday, June 30th, 2024
FIM Speedway Grand Prix - Round 6
FIM Speedway GP of Poland, Gorzow
Saturday, June 29th, 2024
Vic Senior MX Championships - Round 3
Goulburn Valley, Vic
Sunday, June 30th, 2024
AMA Pro Motocross - Round 5
The Wick 338 - Southwick, MA
Saturday, June 29th, 2024