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.