Monster Energy Honda Team consolidates position in leading group at Desert Challenge
|The second stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, held in the middle of the Liwa desert, proved to be a high-speed affair full of many steep, waving dunes, combined with others with sharp descents. So as to avoid potential accidents, riders were forced to be prudent and pay close attention to the roadbooks. The day’s stage was the longest of the competition with a total of 519.71 kilometres, including 287.9 km of timed special.
Kevin Benavides has continued to shine as the leading rider of the Monster Energy Honda Team in this second stage. The Argentine rider upped the pace, narrowing the gap with the riders ahead and clawing back precious time dropped in the opening stage yesterday. Benavides finished in second place on the day and holds third in the provisional standings, less than two minutes behind the leader.
Paulo Gonçalves, on his second day of racing after more than two months without competing, was able to find a good rhythm which allowed him to finish in fourth position at the end of the day and move to fifth in the overall rally standings. American Ricky Brabec, sixth yesterday, repeated the performance today to finish in the same position. José Ignacio Cornejo and Michael Metge continue to learn how to interpret the terrain and gradually increase their speed. Neither suffered any mechanical mishaps.
The third stage tomorrow will feature a total of 372.55 kilometres, including 281.4km of special timed stage, once again in the Liwa Desert.