Pablo Quintanilla back in the lead with Atacama Rally stage three win

Fastest time on 2019 Atacama Rally stage three moves Pablo Quintanilla back into the overall lead – Ricky Brabec gets on the gas for second in the stage with Sam Sunderland stays consistent for second overall.

 

Pablo Quintanilla continued his strong return to action at the 2019 Atacama Rally by winning the third stage and take back the overall lead. The Chilean rider was four minutes faster than Ricky Brabec, second, and Sam Sunderland, third on the first of two marathon stages. 

As ever with Rally, the game of chess plays out as riders take turns to lead stages and Quintanilla made the best out of his sixth place starting position on stage two, catching the riders ahead of him and to catch and take time out the overnight leader, Kevin Benavides. 

 
atacama stage3 benavides 7290 rallyzone
 

Stage three took the riders out on over 280 kilometres with no outside assistance at the temporary bivouac in Diego de Almagro. Riders have to take care of their bikes before stage four and with both featuring fast sections, tricky fesh-fesh, dunes and mountainous tracks which Joan Barreda described as almost like trials riding and requiring a full range of riding skills. 

Sam Sunderland continued to show the consistency which sees him leading the 2019 World Championship as he placed third for the second consecutive stage. After his solid performance over the three days he’s now lying second in the overall standings, four and a half minutes down from the leader. 

 
Sam Sunderland Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Atacama Rally 2019 Stage 2 560
 

Stage two winner and overnight leader, Kevin Benavides had a tougher time on stage three leading out and finding the technical terrain a struggle to drop almost 10 minutes on Quintanilla on the day and slip to third overall, eight minutes down.

 
atacama stage3 brabec 0639 rallyzone
 

Ricky Brabec showed he’s getting up to speed at the Atacama finishing runner-up and climbing up a position in the overall standings to P6. On route he also had to pick a Factory KTM off Matthais Walkner's head – Walkner was uninjured just trapped! 

Continuing to find his rhythm and building his pace, Dakar Champion Toby Price finished fourth, successfully defending his fifth place in the race’s overall standings. 

 
oby Price Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Atacama Rally 2019 Stage 2 560
 

Provisional top 10 result stage 3 – 2019 Atacama Rally:

  1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 3:23:03
  2. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:27:01 +3:58
  3. Sam Sunderland (ENG), KTM, 3:27:09 +4:06
  4. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:29:16 +6:13
  5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 3:29:51 +6:48
  6. Matthias Walkner (AUS), KTM, 3:31:23 +8:20
  7. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:31:54 +8:51
  8. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:32:24 +9:21
  9. Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 3:34:19 +11:16
  10. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 3:36:09 +13:06

Provisional top 10 standings (after stage 3) – 2019 Atacama Rally:

  1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 9:04:48
  2. Sam Sunderland (ENG), KTM, 9:09:14 +4:26
  3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 9:13:32 +8:44
  4. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 9:14:41 +9:53
  5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 9:15:49 +11:01
  6. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 9:17:49 +13:01
  7. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 9:26:04 +21:16
  8. Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 9:27:19 +22:31
  9. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 9:29:03 +24:15
  10. Matthias Walkner (AUS), KTM, 9:30:13 +25:25

Heading on to the penultimate day of the 2019 Atacama Rally, riders face the longest day on stage four with nearly 354 kilometres. As the second half of the marathon stage the route will take the riders back to Copiapo and require them to take extra care of their bikes particularly tyres before reaching assistance at the bivouac. 

 
Photo Credit: Rally Zone
 
 
 
 
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Igor Aguado
Enduro21 Junior Editor
igor.aguado@enduro21.com