Quintanilla and Renet 5-8 in Sealine stage two

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Rockstar Energy Husqvarna riders Pela Renet and Pablo Quintanilla came home in fifth and eighth in stage two of the Sealine Rally on Tuesday after more than 504km in the saddle of their FR 450 Rally bikes, 340km of which was under the clock.

Renet the team’s rookie is now third in the general standings and Quintanilla is fifth, but in a rally where tactics and starting orders are decisive, both are confident that they are well positioned to pick up valuable minutes in Wednesday’s stage three. Here in Qatar, riders face hard off piste riding that requires constant focus and demands absolute concentration although traveling to the south of the small Gulf State Tuesday they were for a time back in the sand dunes.

Quintanilla, winner of the opening stage that saw him, Toby Price and Sam Sunderland all coming in only seconds apart, was first out on Tuesday and charged with opening the track. The three riders were again out in front nearing the end of the stage but went off course after a small navigation error that cost them some places in the order for the day’s ride.

Quintanilla now has the advantage of starting behind other riders in stage three and said it would give him the opportunity to make up a lot of time on Wednesday when riders face another 506.31km of which 355.49 is timed special.

Quintanilla, an experienced desert rider from Chile, said it was important to focus on the end overall result and not on the individual stages. “I opened the track almost all day today. Price and Sunderland caught up at the 250km mark but at 20 km from the finish we went off the main track. The lead trio then had to find their way back to the missing waypoint and this handed the day’s advantage to the following group.

Renet who came to the team as a world champion enduro rider at the end of 2015 has already shown his ability to quickly integrate into his new racing discipline. After the second of the five stages he is just under two minutes off Price, who retains the overall lead. Quintanilla is 3.56 minutes off the overall lead. "If everything goes well, I have many minutes to pick up in the third stage, I must navigate without errors and with a steady rhythm,” Quintanilla said.

Team Coordinator Daniel Trauner said it had been a tough and tiring day for the riders. “Quintanilla opened the track and he was out front and navigating for the other riders almost all day. We knew from the map that there was a very tricky place at the 320km mark and unfortunately that was where he was getting tired and losing the focus. But he is in good spirits and very confident he can make up a lot of time tomorrow. Pela (Renet) is also making good progress. He rode with Salvatierra most of the day so had some help with the navigating. But he is learning quickly and has made a good transition from enduro.”