Monster Energy Honda Team got to grips today with the first full stage of the Atacama Rally, grabbing a decisive win for Kevin Benavides in the dunes of Copiapó. Joan Barreda suffered a heavy fall that saw him obliged to drop out of the race.
Yesterday’s short afternoon prologue in Tierra Amarilla, a town just fifteen kilometres from Copiapo, brought some surprises, as the top riders were at their smartest strategically, to avoid starting out from the front when the first stage of the competition got underway. Thus, Paulo Gonçalves, José Ignacio Cornejo, Joan Barreda and Kevin Benavides all chalked up less-than-their-best qualification times, which paid off in the form of optimal starting positions for today’s first stage, most posting twenty-fifth place or more. Ricky Brabec finished tenth in the prologue which meant the American was the first of the Monster Energy Honda Team riders to take the field, eventually producing a fifth overall position.
Today’s looping special, beginning and ending in Copiapó, took in a total of 266.30 kilometres against the clock. The rest was made up of 91 kilometres of liaison to form a total of 358.87 kilometres.
By the time the stage was done, the fastest of all the participants had proved to be Argentine Monster Energy Honda Team rider, Kevin Benavides. The delayed start benefited the rider who was been able to set a formidable pace, strong enough to post the day’s best time. However, with the addition of the prologue time, Kevin now lies in second spot in the overall standings.
Paulo Gonçalves experienced some navigational hiccups today which saw him drop some time before finishing eighth. Meanwhile American rider Ricky Brabec found himself opening the track during the first kilometres of the special. The Californian made it through to the flag with an error-free ride and continues to accrue valuable navigational experience. Ricky finished ninth on the day.
The young Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo set a solid pace but lost time due to a fall which meant that he finished the day amidst the group of his team-mates, in tenth place.
Bad luck for Joan Barreda, who started very strongly in the opening stretches of the race, but a fall at kilometre eight of the special left him in bad physical condition. The Spanish rider was able to continue until the neutralization section but at that point was forced to retire from the rally. The rider is currently under observation checks to ascertain the full extent of the injuries sustained in the fall.
results Stage 1
|1||Benavides Kevin||2||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||2:52'23|
|2||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+0'04|
|3||Price Toby||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+6'15|
|4||Walkner Matthias||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+6'58|
|5||Caimi Franco||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+10'07|
|6||Van Beveren Adrien||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+12'33|
|7||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+12'43|
|8||Goncalves Paulo||4||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+14'04|
|9||Brabec Ricky||11||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+15'36|
|10||Cornejo José Ignacio||15||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+16'54|
|11||Sunderland Sam||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+20'00|
|12||Short Andrew||12||USA||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+20'35|
|13||Mena Oriol||14||SPA||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+23'54|
|14||Prohens Felipe||CHI||Team Hermanos Prohens||KTM||+28'37|
|15||Rodrigues Joaquim||16||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+37'42|
Provisional standings after Stage 1
|1||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||2:53'55|
|2||Benavides Kevin||2||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+1'40|
|3||Price Toby||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+5'59|
|4||Walkner Matthias||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+9'08|
|5||Caimi Franco||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+9'53|
|6||Van Beveren Adrien||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+12'22|
|7||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+13'34|
|8||Goncalves Paulo||4||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+14'51|
|9||Brabec Ricky||11||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+15'43|
|10||Cornejo José Ignacio||15||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||17'35|
This is your invitation to live the Atacama Rally 2018, Third Round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The Atacama 2018 will be unique, traversing the immensity of the Atacama Desert. Is set to be a magical race, breathtaking and above all challenging, taking riders’ abilities to the limits to… read more.
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