Kevin Benavides finished in runner-up spot today on day three of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Monster Energy Honda Team riders are poised to attack from advantageous start positions for tomorrow’s penultimate day of racing.

More dunes and more sand, but the same heat and, from the first hour this morning, the same bothersome wind that has been irritating the riders. The third special was the longest of the entire rally with practically three hundred kilometres against the clock en route through the Liwa desert with certain stretches nearing the Saudi Arabian border.

The best of the Monster Energy Honda Team was Kevin Benavides. The Argentine, who took a hard shoulder blow in a fall during yesterday’s stage, set out today intent on pulling back some of the time lost. The rider reached the finish-line, on this the third day of racing, with the second best time of all the riders remaining in the race.

As the winner of yesterday’s stage, Nacho Cornejo had to lead the riders out today. The Chilean, whose start preceded that of Joan Barreda, opened the track for several kilometres until his team-mate come out of his wake to take the lead before reaching the refuelling at kilometre 185.8. Later the duo, together with three other riders, finished the special in a group. Barreda posted seventh with Nacho behind him, which places the Spaniard third in the rally’s overall standings.

If today was the longest special to be disputed, tomorrow sees the longest stage, once again in the Liwa desert. The fourth day of the race, will include 286 kilometres against the clock, with riders having to complete two liaison sections of 135 and 100 kilometres, both before and after the timed special.

Kevin Benavides

STAGE: 2nd STANDINGS: 4th

Obviously, the stage position today leaves me happy, even though I am with a broken rib and with my shoulder injured. I was able to ride a beautiful stage even though the pain persists. At least it made it worth the effort. I am pleased with the way the stage developed. I tried to focus on enjoying the bike and forgetting the insignificant stuff. For me, the goal is clear: finish the race. I want to thank the effort that the team is making right now, in this time of added difficulties.

Joan Barreda

STAGE: 7th OVERALL: 14

It was a positive day. We knew we would be riding ahead and that, in this kind of race here in Abu Dhabi, we would get caught up sooner or later. We kept up a good pace but then they caught us up and kept us in check. It has been a long stage, with many kilometres. The temperatures increased and the toughness of this race was noticeable. Nacho had a very good stage today. Tomorrow we will go back and try to set a good pace and have a good stage.

José Ignacio Cornejo

STAGE: 8th OVERALL: 3rd

Until the refuelling I was opening track although Joan was close behind. The following pack regained some time on me. In the second part, the difficulty of riding in the dunes was made greater because of the wind and the others caught me up, to finish all together. We knew that was going to happen because it was inevitable, but I tried to minimize the differences with my rivals. It was good to open the track for most of the day and I navigated well in the dunes holding a good pace. I think I will have a good starting place for tomorrow; We will try to have a good stage.

2019 Cross-Country Rallies
Stage Round WORLD1 , Stage 3   Abu Dhabi

Stage 3 Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Sunderland Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 4:00'27
2 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +2'51
3 Mare Aaron RSA Vendetta Racing UAE KTM +4'20
4 Benavides Luciano ARG KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +6'06
5 Meshari Jaffar Mohammed KWT Team Jaffar KTM +8'04
6 Ackerman Mark RSA SRG Motorsports Husqvarna +8'44
7 Barreda Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +9'05
8 Cornejo José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +12'00
9 Blair Ryan GBR SRG Motorsports Husqvarna +16'42
10 Al Balooshi Mohammed UAE Balooshi Racing KTM UAE KTM +19'27
2019 Cross-Country Rallies
Stage Round WORLD1 , Stage 3   Abu Dhabi

Provisional Standings after Stage 3

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Sunderland Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 11:00'24
2 Benavides Luciano ARG KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +12'48
3 Cornejo José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +12'51
4 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +23'11
5 Short Andrew USA Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna +44'36
6 Ackerman Mark RSA SRG Motorsports Husqvarna +57'36
7 Blair Ryan GBR SRG Motorsports Husqvarna +1:05'45
8 Meshari Jaffar Mohammed KWT Team Jaffar KTM +1:16'41
9 Al Balooshi Mohammed UAE Balooshi Racing KTM UAE KTM +1:18'32
10 McBride David GBR Vendetta Racing UAE KTM +2:32'52
15 Barreda Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +33:19'12
Location Information

The erstwhile UAE Desert Challenge, one of the world’s most prestigious international cross country rallies, entered a new era in March 2009 when it was renamed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with the five-day motor sport spectacular being staged in its entirety across Abu Dhabi emirate under the auspices of the Abu… read more.

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates - View in Google Maps

Records

2019 Sam Sunderland
2018 Pablo Quintanilla
2017 Sam Sunderland
2016 Toby Price
2015 Marc Coma
2014 Paulo Gonçalves
2013 Marc Coma
2012 Marc Coma