Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2019

Stage 3

  • Benavides Second in Abu Dhabi Stage 3 as Rally Reaches Halfway Point

    Kevin Benavides finished in runner-up spot on day three of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, while Monster Energy Honda Team riders are also poised to attack from advantageous start positions for tomorrow's penultimate day of racing.

Report

Benavides Second in Abu Dhabi Stage 3 as Rally Reaches Halfway Point

April 2, 2019


Kevin Benavides finished in runner-up spot today on day three of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Monster Energy Honda Team riders are poised to attack from advantageous start positions for tomorrow's penultimate day of racing.

More dunes and more sand, but the same heat and, from the first hour this morning, the same bothersome wind that has been irritating the riders. The third special was the longest of the entire rally with practically three hundred kilometers against the clock en route through the Liwa desert with certain stretches nearing the Saudi Arabian border.

The best of the Monster Energy Honda Team was Kevin Benavides. The Argentine, who took a hard shoulder blow in a fall during yesterday's stage, set out today intent on pulling back some of the time lost. The rider reached the finish-line, on this the third day of racing, with the second best time of all the riders remaining in the race.

As the winner of yesterday's stage, Nacho [José Ignacio] Cornejo had to lead the riders out today. The Chilean, whose start preceded that of Joan Barreda, opened the track for several kilometers until his team-mate come out of his wake to take the lead before reaching the refueling at kilometer 185.8. Later the duo, together with three other riders, finished the special in a group. Barreda posted seventh with Nacho behind him, which places the Spaniard third in the rally's overall standings.

If today was the longest special to be disputed, tomorrow sees the longest stage, once again in the Liwa desert. The fourth day of the race, will include 286 kilometers against the clock, with riders having to complete two liaison sections of 135 and 100 kilometers, both before and after the timed special.

Comments

José Ignacio Cornejo, Stage: 8th, Overall: 3rd

“Until the refueling I was opening track although Joan was close behind. The following pack regained some time on me. In the second part, the difficulty of riding in the dunes was made greater because of the wind and the others caught me up, to finish all together. We knew that was going to happen because it was inevitable, but I tried to minimize the differences with my rivals. It was good to open the track for most of the day and I navigated well in the dunes holding a good pace. I think I will have a good starting place for tomorrow; We will try to have a good stage.”

Kevin Benavides, Stage: 2nd, Overall: 4th

“Obviously, the stage position today leaves me happy, even though I am with a broken rib and with my shoulder injured. I was able to ride a beautiful stage even though the pain persists. At least it made it worth the effort. I am pleased with the way the stage developed. I tried to focus on enjoying the bike and forgetting the insignificant stuff. For me, the goal is clear: finish the race. I want to thank the effort that the team is making right now, in this time of added difficulties.”

Joan Barreda, Stage: 7th, Overall: 27th

“It was a positive day. We knew we would be riding ahead and that, in this kind of race here in Abu Dhabi, we would get caught up sooner or later. We kept up a good pace but then they caught us up and kept us in check. It has been a long stage, with many kilometers. The temperatures increased and the toughness of this race was noticeable. Nacho had a very good stage today. Tomorrow we will go back and try to set a good pace and have a good stage.”

Results

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2019 Stage 3

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team)
2 Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team)
3 Aaron Mare (Vendetta Racing UAE)
4 Luciano Benavides (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team)
5 Mohammed Meshari Jaffar (Duust Rally Team)
6 Mark Ackerman (SRG Motorsports)
7 Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team)
8 José Ignacio Cornejo (Monster Energy Honda Team)

Overall

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team)
2 Luciano Benavides (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team)
3 José Ignacio Cornejo (Monster Energy Honda Team)
4 Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team)
5 Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing)
6 Mark Ackerman (SRG Motorsports)
27 Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team)

Photos