The halfway point of the Atacama Rally saw Monster Energy Honda Team’s Portuguese rider narrowly miss out on victory in a long, arduous and danger-filled special. Kevin Benavides, with the disadvantage of having to open the track, finished fourth.
The participants of the Atacama Rally now find themselves in the heart of the world’s most arid desert. The third stage of the rally – from Tal Tal to Mejillones – produced fine performances from the two Monster Energy Honda Team riders, who vie for positions that could eventually lead to top overall results.
If yesterday it was Kevin Benavides who won the stage, today Paulo Gonçalves took the turn to carry the torch, although it wasn’t a stage for taking excessive risks given the sheer speed of the track and the fact that some hazards were not too clearly marked in the roadbook. At the end of the day, the Portuguese rider astride the Honda CRF450 RALLY settled for runner-up spot some 3’30” adrift of the winner.
Paulo’s team-mate, Argentinean Kevin Benavides, opened the way throughout most of the special, with the added difficulty of having to read the roadbook at breakneck speed without references on the track. Kevin finished third and tomorrow will be hoping to claw back any time dropped today.
- Tal Tal and Mejillones, two coastal towns on the Chilean Pacific hosted the third stage of the rally at a distance of 300 kilometres.
- A total of 487 kilometres (308 kilometres) of timed special stage were disputed on Wednesday.
- This third stage featured some sections that were used when the Dakar visited Chile in 2015. The riders had to overcome numerous hazards and very fast, rain-damaged track after the previous week’s downpours.
- Tomorrow the Atacama Rally sees the longest stage of the race: 547 kilometres from Mejillones to Iquique, with 375km of special against the clock.
Stage 3 Results
|1||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||3.16'43|
|2||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+3'34|
|3||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+4'41|
|4||Sunderland Sam||GBR||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+5'37|
|5||Walkner Matthias||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+6'08|
|6||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+8'25|
|7||Caimi Franco||ARG||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+13'53|
|8||Van Beveren Adrien||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+21'00|
|9||Cornejo José Ignacio 'Nacho'||CHI||Cornejo Rally Team||KTM||+21'33|
Provisional Standings after Stage 3
|1||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||7:20'23|
|2||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+4'48|
|3||Sunderland Sam||GBR||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+11'52|
|4||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+12'17|
|5||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+12'19|
|6||Walkner Matthias||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+17'44|
|7||Caimi Franco||ARG||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+20'05|
|8||Van Beveren Adrien||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+34'27|
|9||Cornejo José Ignacio 'Nacho'||CHI||Cornejo Rally Team||KTM||+39'01|
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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