Atacama Rally: the real cross country rally lives in Chile
The perfect dunes and the driest desert in the world welcomes all the action from cross country racing when the engines start to begin the new edition of the Atacama Rally next August 20 – 27. The race will receive the official teams competing for the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship.
Five stages and 1,200 competitive kilometers will shape the path between Antofagasta and Copiapo, the natural and perfect scenario for a real cross country rally competition in South America. The Atacama Rally is valid for the fifth round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, and as a third round of Codasur-FIA South American Cross Country Rally Championship.
The best drivers and riders in the world
The Atacama Rally receive official teams of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship. The challenge of winning the real cross country rally carried out in South America’s perfect dune, attires the best drivers of the moment. Led by the last Dakar champion, Australian Toby Price, the KTM team will arrive to Chile with his best lineup: Spanish rider Laia Sanz and Austrian Matthias Walkner, current FIM Cross-Country Rally World Champion.
Official HRC Rally team will have a strong presence with Portuguese Paulo Gonçalves, second in 2015 Dakar. He will be accompanied by American Ricky Brabec and Argentine Kevin Benavides.In front of them, the Husqvarna team: Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla and French Pierre Alexandre "Pela" Renet. Husqvarna motorcycles will also shine on HT Rally Team’s powerful structure led by the Russian Anastasiya Nifontova, FIM Cross-Country Rally World Champion. She will be accompanied by Max Hunt and Aleksandr Ivaniutin. From Bolivia, Daniel and Walter Nosiglia have confirmed their participation.
In quads, the referents will be Chilean Ignacio Casale and Polish rider Rafal Sonik, along with Argentinean Gaston Gonzalez. The South Racing team, led by Chilean Daniel Mas, has confirmed its participation entering three trucks. The other two will be led by an international star and another Chilean, Hernán Garcés.
Chileans fight for the world title
The Atacama Rally 2016 will host the title definition of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship and will have three Chilean riders with an option to get the crown.
Ignacio Casale, 2014 Dakar champion and Qatar’s winner, has hold a closed dispute for world title in quads category with his "archenemy" in recent seasons, the Polish rider Rafal Sonik. The winner in United Arab Emirates announced "the excitement of return to compete in the tough Chilean desert, home of Ignacio Casale, a great rival".
The Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) is six points behind leader in bikes, British Sam Sunderland (KTM). With just one more round on the calendar, the Rally of Morocco in October, the Atacama Rally is the ideal opportunity for Quintanilla to ensure a privileged position in the World Cup.
Another Chilean who is about to be crowned world champion in the junior category is Jose Cornejo. He leads the standings with 75 points compared to the 31 of Adrien Van Beveren. A victory at the Atacama Rally would set an unprecedented win for Cornejo.
The Chilean army
The best Chilean riders and drivers will lead the Atacama Rally. In the bike category, Enrique Guzman, Felipe Prohens, Daniel Gouet and Jordano Sepulveda will fight for the best place. In cars, twenty Chilean crews that take part in the National Cross Country Rally Championship will take the fight, among them are multiple champion Fernando Leon, Maximiliano Rios, Luis Ignacio and Gerardo Rosselot and Luis Eguiguren.
August 20: Technical and administrative scrutineering at Enjoy Hotel in Antofagasta – Chilean competitors
August 21: Technical and administrative scrutineering at Enjoy Hotel in Antofagasta – International competitors
August 22: prologue in Antofagasta Official start at Ruinas de Huanchaca
August 23: Stage 1, Antofagasta - Antofagasta
August 24: Stage 2, Antofagasta - Bahia Inglesa
August 25: Stage 3, Bahia Inglesa – Bahia Inglesa
August 26: Stage 4, Bahia Inglesa – Vallenar – Bahia Inglesa
August 27: Stage 5, Bahia Inglesa - Copiapo
Prize-giving ceremony and closing party at Hotel Antay, Copiapo.
The Atacama Rally is a unique challenge in South America and the only FIM Cross Country World Championship round carried out in this continent. Together with the CODASUR-FIA Cross Country Rally Championship, it is also an excellent opportunity to train at the highest level. Atacama Rally is the true cross-country rally in South America. Dare to live it!