Official Rockstar Energy Husqvarna press release:

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes has won stage two of Rally Kazakhstan. Showing huge skill and speed on his FR 450 Rally, the American rider now lies second overall in the provisional rally standings, just 22 seconds down on the event leader. Luciano Benavides enjoyed a more promising day in the Kazakhstani desert. With his confidence improving, the Argentinian claimed seventh place, six and a half minutes down on his teammate.

Continuing to impress on his FIM Cross-Country Rallies debut for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, Howes was the third rider to enter stage two and immediately set about chasing down the two riders ahead of him. Covering the fast 280km timed special in just less than two hours and 40 minutes, the American was able to minimize any mistakes and maintain a fast, calculated pace on the open pistes of the route. Reaching the finish with a one-minute-and-ten-second advantage over the second-placed rider was enough for Howes to elevate himself to second overall in the standings. He will now be the first rider to face the second half of the event’s marathon stage on day three but hopes to continue right at the sharp end of the results and not lose too much time to the chasing pack.

Skyler Howes: “That was a fast stage today – really, really fast. Before the refueling I had a couple of scary moments in some rain ruts, but after that I was able to gather myself together and put the hammer back down. I actually had a lot of fun racing through the fast trails, and everything went good – the navigation went ok, I only made a few tiny mistakes like going past a corner too far, but otherwise, no major errors at all. The day went well, and I was able to go fastest on the special, which only puts me 22 seconds off the rally lead so that feels good. Now I must lead out tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes, but otherwise I’m having a lot of fun.”

Friday’s stage three of the 2021 Rally Kazakhstan makes up the second half of the event’s marathon stage. Riders will leave the bivouac at Kenderly and head further east before looping back on a long liaison section to Aktau. Totaling 533km, the stage includes a tough timed special of 331km.


2021 Rally Kazakhstan – Stage 2 Provisional Classification

1. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 2:39:45
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 2:40:55
3. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 2:43:00
4. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 2:44:05
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 2:44:27
6. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 2:44:59

2021 Rally Kazakhstan – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)

1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 6:02:59
2. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 6:03:21
3. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 6:03:58
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 6:11:47
5. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 6:15:38
6. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 6:15:43

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