ONE DAY TO GO WITH TWO RIDERS IN THE TOP32023-03-08 09:17
The second stop of this year’s World Rally Raid Championship is coming to an end, with only one more day to race in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren is the leader after Stage 4, with almost three minutes in front of second place and six to his teammate José Ignacio Cornejo.
With limited visibility at the start, the Special Stage was 266 kilometers long and once again the menu was sand, sand and more sand! Big dunes and sand tracks were once again a perfect match for the Monster Energy Honda Team riders, with Van Beveren being second (3:22 minutes gap), Ricky Brabec 4th and Cornejo 6th.
Pablo Quintanilla, who was second at the start from Qasr Al Sarab today, is out of the race due to technical problems in his bike. One of the consequences was that Nacho Cornejo stepped up to third place in the overall standings.
Tomorrow’s Stage 5 – the last one in the program – will leave Qasr Al Sarab in the direction of Abu Dhabi. Special stage will be 206 kilometers long – added by a liaison of 164 km. It will be the goodbye from the Empty Quarter and its amazing set of gigantic dunes and the last chance to change positions in the overall standings: just around eight minutes separate the Top7 riders, showing that all is still open and competition will be tackled until the last mile.
“Today our team was reduced to three riders due to Pablo’s abandonment. The competition is very close for the top standings with very little differences between all eight riders in the front, so now we have to keep our concentration to meet our goals. Adrien Van Beveren is leading the race, Nacho is also in a podium position and Ricky is not far behind. The race is not over until the finish line. I know it will be an intense fight until the end. ”
Adrien Van Beveren 42
“I knew today was the day to push, so I did it from the beginning. I was able to reach Nacho at around kilometer 100 and then rode with him - it was great to have him by my side because when you ride alone it is more difficult to keep a high rhythm. We did a good job together and I am happy about my day. The goal was to do a good time and that is what we accomplished ”
Adrien Van Beveren
José Ignacio Cornejo 11
“I finished stage four in sixth place and did not feel so good as in the previous days. But it was still a good stage, I rode as fast as I could but couldn’t avoid losing some time. Now I am on the podium. I will do all I can to keep this position tomorrow, the day will not be so long so we have to give it our all and keep the consistency until the end. ”
José Ignacio Cornejo
Ricky Brabec 2
“I am glad to finish another day, the team is united and committed to do a good performance here in the Desert Challenge. Now we have just one more day to the finish line, so let’s keep the focus and do our best since this is always a great preparation for our main objective - the Dakar Rally. ”
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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