Team HRC and Paulo Gonçalves took the top honours in the fourth stage of a fast and hazardous Atacama Rally. The team’s Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides fell while Ricky Brabec had a steady day in the saddle.
The early morning mist once again wreaked havoc with the scheduling, not allowing the helicopters to take off and delaying the start of the race. Once more, the harshness of the Atacama Desert was all too evident in this penultimate stage with very rocky yet high-speed tracks that riders threw themselves into. The perils of the desert were all the more unexpected for the fast pace.
Fortunately, the physical condition of Team HRC rider Paulo Gonçalves had improved considerably after a fall two days ago. He let rip on the track from Bahía Inglesa to Vallenar before returning on a looping circuit which was reduced on the day by twenty kilometres. Paulo set a storming pace and dominated the special stage, finishing the stage with a twenty second surplus over nearest second place rival. The Portuguese rider now lies in third spot overall some six minutes adrift of the leader.
It wasn’t all good news for Team HRC. Early in the special in an area of fesh-fesh, the team’s Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides ran into a rock obscured by sand. The biker from Salta went over the handlebars of the bike which then impacted his body. Luckily, Kevin was able to get over the blow and get back in the fray, although he did concede some time to teammate Gonçalves. Benavides drops to fourth place in the overall standings some 8’34 behind leader Australian Toby Price.
Ricky Brabec rode a steady stage today. The American continues with his apprenticeship to improve navigation skills, although today was more about velocity, with an average speed of 130 km/h. Ricky was seventh on the day and occupies the same overall position.
The Argentinian Franco Caimi from Team Honda South America finished in a well-deserved eighth spot just behind Brabec. He likewise lies in eighth overall.
The sixth edition of the Atacama Rally finishes tomorrow in Copiapó. Look forward to 100 kilometres of timed special in which the Team HRC crew will look to consolidate the podium places of riders Paulo Gonçalves and teammate Kevin Benavides.
Results Stage 4
|1||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||2:29'335|
|2||Price Toby||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+0'20|
|3||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+0'25|
|4||Sunderland Sam||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+3'33|
|5||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+4'46|
|6||Walkner Matthias||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+7'10|
|7||Brabec Ricky||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+8'40|
|8||Caimi Franco||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+10'42|
|9||Renet Pierre-Alexandre||FRA||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+12'24|
|10||Sanz Laia||SPA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+17'34|
Provisional Standings after Stage 3
|1||Price Toby||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||10:49'21|
|2||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+0'26|
|3||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+6'24|
|4||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+8'34|
|5||Walkner Matthias||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+33'01|
|6||Sunderland Sam||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+35'15|
|7||Brabec Ricky||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+40'00|
|8||Caimi Franco||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+59'27|
|9||Cornejo José Ignacio 'Nacho'||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+1:07'54|
|10||Prohens Felipe||CHI||Team Hermanos Prohens||KTM||+1:26'21|
The 2019 edition of the Atacama Rally will offer its competitors a high-level sports rally, challenging the incredible dunes of the Atacama Desert. An open challenge for all and especially for those competing for the third round of the FIM Cross-Country World Rally Championship in the category of motorcycles and… read more.
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