It may only be a little over six weeks since the dust settled on an epic Dakar Rally but the Monster Energy Honda Racing Team are already back in business and delivering some big results.
The team headed back to the Middle East to take on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the next race in the 2023 Rally Raid World Championship, and it’s been a strong start from all four racers.
The short prologue of just six kilometres was won by Pablo Quintanilla, ahead of Adrien Van Beveren, but Stage One was where the competitors got their first real taste of the challenges that lay ahead of them.
The team are known to be specialists in the desert and they proved it again with an awesome performance in the first stage, with Quintanilla again heading the field with a wheel-perfect performance through the dunes.
The stage saw the guys go from Al Dhannah to Qasr Al Sarab, a trek of over 400km, and Quintanilla took victory ahead of team-mate Van Beveren again with Nacho Cornejo in 4th place in Ricky Brabec close behind in 6th.
The second stage saw the overall lead change hands but it still belongs to the red jersey of HRC, with Van Beveren edging ahead of Quintanilla in P1 with a lead of just 90 seconds.
AVB came home from Stage Two in 6th place and Quintanilla 9th to lead the chasing pack with three full stages still to go.