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The 2016 World Championship series was made up of five rounds and the team contested four – the Desert Challenge in the UAE and the Sealine #rally in Qatar, the Atacama #rally in Chile and this week’s Morocco #rally. Quintanilla was third and second in the opening two rounds. He then won at home in Chile and finished second this week in Morocco. He was also third in the Dakar #rally 2016, the premiere #event of the season.
With the world title almost in his grasp, Quintanilla approached the Morocco #rally with tactical caution. He went into the #event with an 11-point lead over second placed Sam Sunderland but by stage four on Thursday, the British rider had narrowed the gap and was still very much in the running.
Then on Friday, Quintanilla turned up the gas and finished second in the stage, just 2.21 minutes behind stage and overall winner Toby Price, to finish third overall in the #rally, but more importantly for him and his team, to secure the world title.
Quintanilla acknowledged that it had been a tough, hard fought battle with rivals Price and Sunderland throughout the season and added: “I’m really happy about the season and for the team. We put in a lot of effort and hard work during the year. I just want to thank the team for the amazing job they did at every race. For me this is a dream come true. It is something I have been dreaming about for many years, and with so much passion. Now I am the new world champion.”
It was also a very good week for Pela Renet, the factory team’s second rider. Renet, a proven Enduro world champion, moved to #rally sport at the beginning of the season and has been on a sharp learning curve ever since. This week in Morocco he started slow and also experienced his first marathon stage on Tuesday where riders have no overnight team support. Gaining in confidence, particularly regarding the navigation, he then put in three very solid days of #racing to wrap up his week at ninth overall in a very competitive field.
Speaking of his final day, Renet said: “I was feeling good at the beginning of the stage but then I had a little crash and I lost a bit of confidence. The stage was also very tricky with the navigation and it was not easy but I am really happy to be at the end. I also want to say big congratulations to my teammate Pablo for the world championship title. He put in a really good performance. I’m also very happy for the team and #husqvarna, because this result is incredible in their first year of #rally.”
Looking forward to the coming Dakar #rally, Renet confirmed that he had started his physical training preparation one month ago and was looking forward to training with the team in the lead up to the season’s main #event.
The Morocco #rally is important preparation for the next Dakar #rally, which starts in Asunción, Paraguay, on January 2, 2017, then travels on to Bolivia and Argentina, and finishes in Buenos Aires on January 14.
Results Stage Five
Erg Chebbi final 275 km total distance, 230 km timed special
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:29.48 h
2. #pabloquintanilla (CHI), #husqvarna, +2.21 m
3. Helder Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha, +2.25
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, +3:48
5. Juan Pedrero (ESP), Sherco, +6.19
13. Pela Renet (ESP), #husqvarna, +11.13
Overall after Stage Five
1. Price, 13:06.35 h
2. Sunderland, +7.44 m
3. Quintanilla, +17.02
4. Rodrigues, +19.05
5. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, +33.04
9. Renet, +49.06
FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship
1. Quintanilla, 93 points
2. Sunderland 86
3. Price 82
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