The 371.39-kilometre fourth stage of the Atacama Rally ran a looping route which both started and finished in Copiapó, taking in Chañaral and Caldera en route. The special saw the riders face 253.54 kilometres against the clock.
A sixth place finish for Honda’s Kevin Benavides was enough to take back the overall leadership of the event, as the Atacama Rally heads towards its final stage. Benavides had dropped precious minutes in search of an awkward waypoint located in the final stretches of the special.
“Today I felt very good; I was pushing with good pace right until the end, where I made a minor mistake in a complicated note. I had been following my own navigation but there were other riders up ahead and it would have been easy to try to follow their tracks. I’m focused on the race and fighting to get a good result. Tomorrow will be the last stage and I will have to go out to defend the position in the general and give it everything that I can.”
Completing another fast and consistent day, Toby Price finished just 22-seconds down on stage winner Matthias Walkner. Happy with his riding, Price moved up to second in the provisional overall standings, just over three minutes down on the rally leader. With one stage to go, Toby will be looking to wrap up his week-long Chilean adventure on a high note.
“Overall I am happy with how the stage went, second fastest is good and I was able to close the gap on the overall leader. I am a little frustrated because I relaxed a bit toward the end and missed a cap, so that cost me a little time. But I’m happy to be here in one piece after such a quick stage and I’ll push again on the last 150km tomorrow. If I can stay on the podium that will be great.”
Following his victory on stage three, Pablo Quintanilla was faced with the demanding task of opening the tracks for Friday’s penultimate stage of the rally. Enjoying an impressive pace for the majority of the timed special, the Chilean rally star suffered a small navigational mistake just 35km before the finish of the 253km long special which cost him dearly.
Crossing the line with the 12th best time for the day, Pablo is now third in the overall standings with one shorter stage still to be contested in the Chilean desert. Determined to give his all for the best possible result tomorrow, the FR 450 Rally powered rider has his eyes set on securing the maximum number of points on his way to defending his FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title.
“I was feeling great after my win yesterday and decided to push from the beginning of the timed special. Everything was working well and I managed to make up some extra time during the day. I was opening the tracks from the start but 217km into the special I got confused and went off-piste for almost 8km. I had to return to validate the previous waypoint and lot of time until I got back on the right tracks. Nothing is lost yet. We might just have a 150km special tomorrow but I will give my best to make up the time lost. So far it’s been a great rally for us and I am feeling better and better on the bike. Our main goal remains to get as much points as possible for the championship.”
A 205km loop around Copiapó, Saturday’s fifth and final stage of the Atacama Rally includes an 154km timed special. It will be the final chance for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing riders to improve on their overall classification at this year’s event.
2018 Cross-Country Rallies
Atacama Rally 2018 – Stage Four Results
WALKNER Matthias KTM 2:50’56
PRICE Toby KTM +0’22
CAIMI Franco Yamaha +0’33
CORNEJO José Ignacio Honda +0’51
BRABEC Ricky Honda +4’02
BENAVIDES Kevin Honda +4’25
GONCALVES Paulo Honda +4’25
VAN BEVEREN Adrien Yamaha +6’33
SHORT Andrew Husqvarna +8’40
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier Yamaha +11’17
Atacama Rally 2018
Provisional standings after Stage four
BENAVIDES Kevin Honda 12.39’29
2 PRICE Toby KTM +3’07
3 QUINTANILLA Pablo Husqvarna +4’27
4 WALKNER Matthias KTM +7’53
5 CAIMI Franco Yamaha +13’14
6 GONCALVES Paulo Honda +20’04
7 VAN BEVEREN Adrien Yamaha +31’38
8 CORNEJO José Ignacio Honda +35’18
9 SHORT Andrew 12 USA Husqvarna +52’41
10 BRABEC Ricky 15 USA Honda +53’16
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