Pablo Quintanilla has secured a historic debut win for Husqvarna in rally by claiming the top step of the podium at the Chilean Atacama Rally.
Home favourite Quintanilla narrowly beat KTM’s Toby Price to the win by 29 seconds with HRC Honda’s Kevin Benavides completing the top three.
It was not only a memorable first victory for Husqvarna Motorcycles factory team in international rally competition but also a popular win for Quintanilla’s fans at home in Chile.
Wrapping up the five stages in a combined time of 11:48.38 hours, Quintanilla was fastest home in the final 100km of sand dunes, finishing the stage in 58.51 minutes.
This gave him the overall win by just 29 seconds from second-placed Toby Price (KTM). Joining them on the podium was Honda’s Kevin Benavides, whose combined time was 9.35 minutes behind Quintanilla.
“I had to push a lot to win and I am very happy,” told Quintanilla. “I have been looking for this victory for a long time. I put in a lot of work and I’ve been training hard.
“I’m also happy for my team because it is also our first victory of the season and we are now leading the championship, which is my goal. Now I need to keep up this training rhythm and focus on being 100% fit for Morocco, where I will try my best to be the world champion.”
As an added bonus, Quintanilla now heads the leader board in the FIM World Cross-Country Rallies Championship going into the final round five, the Oillibya Rally of Morocco (October 1-7).
Quintanilla leaves Chile with 66 points, three ahead of KTM factory rider Sam Sunderland. Toby Price, who had to withdraw from the Sealine Rally through injury, now has 50 points.
Final Overall Results after five stages
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 11:42.38 h
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, +0.29 sec
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, +9.35 min
4. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, +10.02
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, +38.43