Atacama Rally 2016: win for Pablo Quintanilla
Yesterday evening, the FIM Jury gave Toby Price (KTM) back the 1' he had lost at the finish of the 3rd special because of the poorly positioned signs for the CH. This morning, the Australian rider therefore had a lead of 1'26, not 26 seconds over Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) overall. The start of this last stage was at the feet of the great dunes of Copapió, a magnificent spot where this fourth round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship would also end, under a glorious sun.
5th Stage: Bahia Inglesa - Copiapó
Link section: 76,44 km – Special: 102.26 km – Link section: 22.95 km – Total: 201.65 km.
All the man from Chile had to do to win the race was to catch up with Price, but 100 km in the dunes was a shortish stretch to make up time on the Australian, who has a terrific pace. But Pablo Quintanilla, undaunted, set off in pursuit of his rival and when the KTM rider made a mistake at km 20, he took advantage of the situation to get on his tail and cross the finish line right with him, winning the Atacama Rally for the fourth time, no less.
,,It was a very intense and difficult week”, said the winner of the stage and the Rally. ''At the start of the race, I was ahead but I got a 6' penalty for speeding in a DZ, which forced me to regroup to get back in control of the race. Today, it wasn’t easy to catch Toby but I am happy with this new win in my country. As for the title, there is still one more race in Morocco!”
Second overall, Toby Price (KTM) nevertheless arrived at the parc fermé with a smile on his face. “That’s racing”, he said, “one day you win, one day you lose. It was a great race but Pablo was faster and I congratulate him.”
Honda rider Kevin Benavides made it on to the third step of the podium. “It was a great rally but it was tough for me as I broke the navigation support on the 2nd day and yesterday I took a heavy fall. Today, I managed a good pace. Now I need to correct my mistakes and improve my performance.”
It wasn’t an easy race for Paulo Gonçalves either, who finished 4th. “I found the rally very splendid but it was long and tough because I had crashes on days 2 and 3. The main thing is that I felt good and that yesterday I was able to ride at a good pace. The Dakar is just around the corner and HRC has done great work preparing the bike.”
Sam Sunderland (KTM), who is still in the running for the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship title, came 5th after making a few navigation errors at the start of the race. He is followed by Matthias Walkner (KTM) who made a mistake today and rode over 3km on a wrong track. Ricky Brabec (Honda) came 7th followed by Franco Caimi, José Cornejo, junior winner of the event, Daniel Gouet and Pela Renet — 7th in the special. The French rider is happy to finish on a positive note: “I am getting more confident and I pay less attention to the tracks now…”
The best woman, Laia Sanz (KTM), came 12th. For “It wasn’t easy the first few days, as I had quite a few problems, but the last couple of stages went very well, so I am pretty happy!”
It wasn’t a good day for the rider from Copiapó, Felipe Prohens, who broke his engine at km 5. In quad, the win went to Rafal Sonik who is on his way towards a new title.