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

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Dakar Rally 2022

2022 Dakar

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

The 2022 Dakar Rally enters its final stretch with the frontrunners positioning themselves before the final 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 stage.

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 tough task for some of the riders who were forced to make split-second decisions about which paths to follow. A total of 759 kilometres were completed from Wadi Ad-Dawasir to Bisha including the special 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 a fine pace today and, despite a minor mistake that forced him to have to retrace several kilometres, 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.

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 tough task of opening the track today. The pair led for most of the day, only shedding time towards the end of the special. In the overall rankings, both riders are in the top ten, 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  2

STAGE: 13th OVERALL: 8th

Today was good. This was stage 10, so we’re almost at the finish. I was up front 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 are in a good spot for stage 11 which is supposed to be tricky. Like we said before, we don’t know which stage is tricky and which is 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 very happy 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  7

STAGE: 10th OVERALL: 2nd

I’m happy; it was a good day. Today it was important to manage the race well ahead of tomorrow’s stage which will be key to 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 so that we are in good shape for tomorrow’s stage.

José Ignacio Cornejo  11

STAGE: 18th OVERALL: 9th

It was difficult today. I knew that I would have to open the track and that it would be complicated. I was doing well until I arrived before the refuelling in a complex area and I lost a bit of time. Then I tried not to lose my concentration and to keep a good pace to finish the stage well, making up some of the lost time. Tomorrow will be tough and it will be good to start from behind. I think we can recover a few more positions in the general standings.

Joan Barreda 88

STAGE: 3rd OVERALL: 5th

It was a complicated stage, especially in terms of navigation, where I had to turn back a few kilometres to find a waypoint. In the end I found some good pace to attack over the final kilometres. I saw that there were strategies from some other riders… I also picked up a penalty at the entrance of a controlled zone when I lost concentration. I’m not sure what the penalty will be. I’m not really sure how it all went, but it was a stage from which we had to salvage something. I don’t think I’m in a bad position for tomorrow, but it won’t be easy: there will be a lot of sand and plenty of dunes… I’m going to give it everything I’ve got for the two remaining days.