Kevin Benavides and Paulo Gonçalves posted second and third place on the looping circuit starting and finishing in Copiapó, as the first full stage of the 2017 Atacama Rally wraps up.

Kevin Benavides pulled off an excellent first stage fight-back after starting out in tenth position this morning, before battling his way through the field. Team-mate Paulo Gonçalves was likewise displaying solid riding skills and deft navigation to finish 25” off his Monster Energy Honda Team partner.

The 226.18 kilometre timed special stage started out in the outskirts of Copiapó before looping its way around to finish where it began. The day served up 80% sand including some dunes as well as some 85 kilometres of fast track.
Tomorrow’s second stage from Copiapó to Cifuncho will include 25 kilometres of liaison section, 308 kilometres of special stage and a final 50 kilometre liaison section before arriving at the bivouac situated in Tal Tal.

Paulo Goncalves

STAGE: 3rd, +1'35 STANDINGS: 3rd, +1'35

I think I had a good first stage. I had some difficulty with the pain that I still have in my hand, but it will help build confidence to continue until the end, hopefully with good performances every day. The bike went perfectly, as did the team, which has worked really hard to prepare this stage. Both riders of the Monster Energy Honda Team have a good starting position for tomorrow and we will have to keep fighting every day until the very end.

Kevin Benavides

STAGE: 2nd, +1'10 OVERALL: 2nd, +1'10

Today we had the first stage and I'm very happy to get back near the top of the table. I rode a fairly quiet special and navigated pretty well at a good pace. There were valleys, dunes and desert and even some dangers at certain points, but I felt very good on this first day of racing. There are still four hard days ahead but today the bike worked flawlessly, without problems. Also, I should point out the great work that the team is putting in.

2017 Cross-Country Rallies
Stage Round FIM-3   Chile

Stage 1 Results / OVERALL after Stage 1

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna 2:23'12
2 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +1'10
3 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +1'35
4 de Soultrait Xavier FRA Yamaha Motor Europe Yamaha +3'18
5 Caimi Franco ARG Yamaha Motor Europe Yamaha +6'37
6 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +7'01
7 Van Beveren Adrien FRA Yamaha Motor Europe Yamaha +10'10
8 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +10'11
9 Cornejo José Ignacio 'Nacho' CHI Cornejo Rally Team KTM +10'33
10 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +16'17
Location Information

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.

Copiapó, Chile - View in Google Maps