KTM lie 2nd on Atacama Rally (CHI)
|Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland and Toby Price have completed day three of the 2019 Atacama Rally in third and fourth places respectively, with Sunderland now placed second in the provisional overall standings. Showing great pace on the tough stage, Matthias Walkner finished in sixth, with Luciano Benavides one place behind in seventh.
Marking the first half of the two-day marathon stage, day three in Chile took riders from the event’s home in Copiapó northwest to the city of Diego de Almagro. Riders will stay in a temporary bivouac before heading back to Copiapó on Friday, via the longest stage of the race. No outside assistance is permitted between the two stages.
Sam Sunderland, showing great consistency on the gruelling, rocky pistes of the Atacama Desert, placed third for the second consecutive stage. His solid performance over the three days of racing so far sees him lying second overall in the provisional standings, just four-and-a-half minutes down on the leader following over nine hours of racing. Going into Friday’s long timed special, Sunderland will have the advantage of being able to chase down the two riders ahead of him to hopefully make up valuable minutes on his nearest rivals.
Finishing as fourth fastest, just behind teammate Sunderland, Toby Price mastered the day’s tricky stage to arrive at the finish having made the minimum of mistakes. Continuing to find his rhythm and build his pace, the reigning Dakar Rally Champion successfully defended his fifth-place position in the event’s overall standings.
Sixth and seventh fastest, Matthias Walkner and Luciano Benavides both put in solid rides, despite a couple of issues on the 280-kilometre timed special. With no damage to their bikes however, the two Red Bull KTM teammates look good for another strong finish on tomorrow’s stage four.
Jordi Viladoms (KTM Rally Team Manager): “The marathon stage here in Chile is really hard because it is made up of two long days and both cover some very rocky terrain – it’s only when the riders get to the final 45 kilometres tomorrow that they will reach the sand dunes and make it easier on their bikes and tyres. Luckily everyone reached the bivouac today with very few problems, but they will still have to be extra careful tomorrow. I’m very happy with the team – Sam is doing a great race, he is in a good position and all went well. He did bend his rear disc a little on a rock but was able to fix it at the bivouac. Toby is taking things step-by-step, his hand is not perfect, but he is slowly building his speed and looks good for the rest of the race. Matthias had a few issues today, so lost a little time. But overall he’s riding well and already found a good rhythm on these fast stages. Luciano is riding well, it’s his first time racing here in Chile and like anyone, it takes a few stages to get used to the different terrain and high average speeds. We still have two days left to go, but at the moment I am really happy with the team – I hope we can keep up this performance to the finish.”
Friday’s stage four of the rally, the longest of the event, covers a total distance of 426.68 kilometres and includes a tough 353.92-kilometres timed special. As the second half of the event’s marathon stage, the long, challenging route back to Copiapó will require riders to take extra care of their machines and tyres in order to safely complete the day.
Provisional Results – Stage 3 Atacama Rally 2019
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 3:23:03
Provisional Standings – Atacama Rally 2019 after 3 of 5 stages
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 9:04:49