Dakar contender recovers for fourth overall ranking.
A brutal fall at the beginning of the 10th and final stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally crushed Pablo Quintanilla’s hopes of earning a maiden title, although it wasn’t enough to completely rule him out of the competition.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider sat a close second in the classification ahead of the day’s proceedings, granting him prime position for victory, however his plans came unstuck after over-jumping a broken dune, resulting in a heavy landing that momentarily sidelined the Chilean contender.
The incident pushed him down to fourth in the standings after finishing the stage in 22nd position, allowing an injured Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) to somewhat comfortably ride home to a second Dakar Rally crown.
“Today I gave it all for the overall win, but things did not go as planned,” Quintanilla admitted. “A few kilometres into the stage there was a broken dune and it was hard to see it. I jumped it and landed heavily on my foot. Luckily the medical crew arrived a few seconds later and they helped me get back on the bike.
“The rest of the day it was just a struggle to get to the finish. If you want to win the Dakar you do need to take some risks and that’s what I tried to do today. I was really trying my best today for myself and for the team. It was a tough day but still I’m happy I’ve finished this Dakar.
“I take my fourth-place result and focus on the future. Overall, I’m happy I gave 100 percent at this Dakar and took some risks while battling for the win. I will come back even stronger next year.”
Quintanilla proved to be one of the most competitive racers in the event this year, leading the overall classification on numerous occasions and looked set to disrupt KTM’s now 18-year winning streak before his campaign came to a brief, yet abrupt, halt.