ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING RIDER TAKES AN EARLY LEAD IN THE EVENT’S PROVISIONAL OVERALL STANDINGS Fast and consistent aboard his FR 450 Rally machine, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla has secured victory in a challenging stage one of the Atacama Rally 2017. Reaching the finish of the stage without any issues the Chilean currently enjoys a lead of over one-minute at the top of the event’s provisional overall standings.
Following his impressive performance on Sunday, which saw him post the fastest time in the short Prologue, Pablo was determined to keep the momentum going into the first full day of racing in Chile. Taking advantage of his good starting position, he made a few passes to complete the special stage in a time of two hours and 23 minutes.
For Pablo’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team partner Pela Renet, the Frenchman took advantage of the difficult stage one to continue his rally apprenticeship aboard the FR 450 Rally machine. Spending the second half of the special stage racing alongside the top performers, Pela posted the 10th best time for the day.
Including a 308km-long timed special, stage two of the 2017 Atacama Rally will see competitors leave Copiapó as they head towards the city of Taltal. The total distance to be covered by riders on Tuesday is 379.93km.
Pablo Quintanilla: “Everything went according to plan today. It was a difficult stage with complicated navigation but I did my best for a good result. The stage was so tricky it was almost impossible to avoid mistakes. I stayed focused on my road-book, always trying to take the best decisions whenever I was in doubt. Overall, I’m really happy to get away with the stage victory. It’s been the first big test at this year’s Atacama Rally and for sure there’s going to be more days like that this week. My focus now is on tomorrow’s stage two now.”
Pela Renet: “I am happy with my performance today. It was difficult starting at the front because you have no tracks to follow and soon the riders behind can catch you. Navigation was difficult with no tracks, and there are a lot of hills and valleys in the dunes that can catch you out. It wasn’t too bad though because I was able to stay with the top riders after being caught, and so not only was my pace good over the stage, but I learned a lot from them too.”
2017 Atacama Rally – Stage One Provisional Classification 1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 2:23:12 2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 2:24:22 3. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 2:24:47 4. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 2:26:30 5. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 2:29:49 6. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 2:30:13 … 10. Pela Renet (Husqvarna) 2:39:29