Monster Energy Honda Team’s Argentinean rider, Kevin Benavides has taken victory at the 2018 Atacama Rally ahead of Toby Price and Pablo Quintanilla.
After a consistent performance throughout round three of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Chile, Benavides headed into the final 155-kilometre day out of Copiapó, needing to keep pace with nearest rival Toby Price to secure victory.
Argentinian Benavides did better than that and rounded out the Atacama as he began with a stage win. Adding to the celebrations for Benavides and the HRC Rally Team was the fact Kevin now jointly leads the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with reigning champion Quintanilla.
Speaking at the finish, Benavides said: “I'm very happy. It has been an amazing Atacama Rally for me. I won three stages and I felt very comfortable on the bike, which has worked perfectly throughout the event. The team has worked very well and this has given me the tools needed for the victory. I was able to stay very focused and was confident in myself. Winning here is not easy – Quintanilla is very strong. I've been looking forward to this victory for a long time and I’m really savouring it!”
Solid week for Toby Price
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has finished the fifth and final stage of the 2018 Atacama Rally in second place and in turn earned a strong runner-up result in the final standings.
Posting the second fastest time for the day, Price was less than five minutes behind the overall winner after a full week of racing: “It was a good day today,” said Price. “It was always going to be tough to make up enough time to take the win, especially over such a short stage.
"I’m happy with how the day and the whole rally has gone. I set out at the beginning of the event to ride consistently and get back up to speed with the bike and the navigation and I think I have managed that. To finish second after such a tricky race is good and sets me up well for Argentina. Hopefully I can deliver more of the same, stay fit and healthy and put in another good performance.”
Quintanilla and Benavides share World Championship points lead
Pablo Quintanilla has claimed a solid third place result at the 2018 Atacama Rally. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rally rider had a slightly more up and down week by comparison with the Benavides but looked strong throughout and is now tied on points at the top of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship standings.
Photo Credit: Rally Zone
The rally circus now moves across South America for the penultimate round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina next week – August 25 to 31.
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org