Rockstar Energy Husqvarna riders sit out storm in Argentina

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Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory riders Pablo Quintanilla, Ruben Faria and Pela Renet had a long ride but unfortunately no productive race time in Argentina on Sunday when severe weather forced the cancelation of Stage One of the Dakar Rally.

As rain and thunder lashed the region around the start of the stage, organizers announced that it would be impossible for the helicopters to fly, and therefore rider safety could not be guaranteed. The rally started on Saturday with a short prologue that followed the official opening and now teams, anxious to start their journey, will be hoping for the weather to quickly improve. Sunday’s stage was to be 637km, including a 227km timed special, from Rosario to Villa Carlos Paz.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Team Manager Daniel Trauner said the day had been a hectic one: “It rained a lot,” he said “This caused some problems with the liaison section of the stage and this was the reason the timed special was canceled. Unfortunately Quintanilla and Ruben had to wait for nearly two hours at the field station, but finally they got back and they are looking forward to race tomorrow. Hopefully it will be better conditions than today. The weather forecast for tomorrow and the day after is not very optimistic but the spirit of the team is really good and everybody is comfortable. We hope to continue like this and to have a good result at the end of the rally.”

Weather permitting, riders and teams have another big day on Monday when the stage takes them from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas de Río Hondo, a distance of 786km with another long timed special of 450km. The stage is said to offer some fast riding through the hills, and organizers will be hoping that the planned river crossings will still be possible.

Faria, the most experienced member of the factory team, registered joint fastest time in Saturday’s prologue and will be looking to extend that advantage. Quintanilla was only 10 seconds off the pace but Renet, who is contesting his first Dakar Rally, will be out to make up some minutes he lost at a difficult river crossing.