Placing second on stage three, Matthias Walkner continues to put in fast, consistent performances at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star is yet to finish outside the top two, and continues to lead the overall standings with the rally now past the halfway point.
Totaling 327 kilometers, it was another day in the dunes at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with the stage featuring a physically demanding timed special of 293 kilometers. As a result of his runner-up finish on day two, Matthias Walkner set off second and soon found himself up near the front once again, assisting with opening the stage.
With navigation proving to be less challenging than on previous days, Matthias chose to keep to a strong but steady pace through the Liwa Desert, not wanting to make any mistakes. Together with the current top racers in the event’s overall standings, Matthias ultimately ended up riding the latter half of the stage as part of a group, with each taking it in turns to lead.
Finishing the stage as second fastest, Walkner successfully defended his advantage in the provisional rankings. Although with a lead of just under one minute, the KTM 450 RALLY rider knows he must still attack the final two stages of the event to ensure he stays on top of the leaderboard.
Matthias Walkner: “I had another solid day today. Finishing second again means I don’t have the best starting position for tomorrow, with not so many lines in the sand ahead of me. There have been the usual changes in the standings with different people leading out, and others have had some issues. Sanders will open tomorrow, and Adrien is looking strong. There are two days left and I’m still leading the overall, so I’ll continue to do my best and take it day-by-day.”
Wednesday’s stage four of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the penultimate of the rally, covers a total distance of 403.76 kilometers and will see riders take on a timed special of 251.98 kilometers.
Provisional Results – Stage 3 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2021
1. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 3:59:09
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:01:53 +2:44
3. Andrew Short (USA), Yamaha, 4:02:15 +3:06
4. Joaquim Rodrigues (POR), Hero, 4:04:26 +5:17
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 4:04:54 +5:45
Provisional Standings – Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2021 after 3 of 5 stages
1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 11:54:24
2. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 11:55:22 +57 seconds
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 12:00:04 +5:39
4. Andrew Short (USA), Yamaha, 12:18:43 +24:19
5. Joaquim Rodrigues (POR), Hero, 12:20:53 +26:28