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First stage win for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Pela Renet

The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team uses Super B Lithium Batteries

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team’s Pela Renet took his first stage victory in the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on Monday. Teammate Pablo Quintanilla, the reigning world champion was fourth. The rally is the first of five in the 2017 FIM Cross-Country World Rally Championship.


Renet completed the 510.69 km including 278.90 km of timed special in 4:05.05 hours and was two minutes ahead of second-placed Paolo Gonçalves of Portugal. Austrian Matthias Walkner was third. Riders once again had to contend with the extreme desert heat. 


Renet was ideally positioned for a good result in the stage. He started in fifth position, which gave him the advantage of some tracks to follow in this rally where strategy is important throughout the five stages. But what benefited him was also to disadvantage his teammate. Quintanilla was second out after Sunday’s winner Sam Sunderland and the riders in front always have the responsibility of opening the track. Where astute navigation is a key part of the sport, this can make the difference. 


Pela Renet: “It was good. When you win, it’s always a good day. But it was not an easy stage and again very long. I started fifth so I had some lines in the dunes, but I still had to push. I rode all day alone and I only caught Pablo about 50 km before the end. But I’m very happy with the result.”


Pablo Quintanilla: “Today was not so good. We knew from the beginning it would be a day to lose time because we started in front, but that’s how it is. This race is something special. Tomorrow we have a really good starting position so we will try to recover this time. This race is difficult, one day you gain time and then you have to start in front, and you lose time the next day. At the moment it is important to focus on recovering time so tomorrow I will try to do it the right way.”


Gonçalves leads the overall standings after stage two, Renet is in third overall and Quintanilla is fourth, however there is only 1 minute 20 seconds between the top four riders, and indication that this will be a hard fought rally. 


Tuesday is the so-called A1 Ain Water stage, which takes riders over a total distance of 371.23 km, with 280.06 under the clock. 
Results Stage 2 – Nissan Patrol Special: 278.90 kms
1. Pela Renet (FRA), Husqvarna + 4:05.05 h
2. Paolo Gonçalves (POR), Honda + 2.17 min 
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), + 3.45
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna + 6.43 
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 7.31
 
Overall Standings
1. Gonçalves 7:41.41 h
2. Walkner 27.8 seconds
3. Renet + 1.12.5 min
4. Quintanilla + 1.21.4