Mathias Walkner takes Atacama Rally lead on stage four
The Atacama Rally is drawing to a close with some thrilling and picturesque stages that have required a high degree of riding dexterity.
Not for the first time, the camanchaca – the thick morning mist that dominates the desert region of Atacama – led to a delayed start. Riders got away an hour later than the scheduled start-time for safety reasons, for the second day running. The penultimate stage proved to be a demanding affair that included a thirty kilometre area of dunes and some fast track.
Austrian Mathias Walkner took the stage four victory and moved in to the overall lead over Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla while Britain’s Sam Sunderland is running in third place.
Yesterday’s troublesome stage saw some penalizations dished out once rider’s GPSs had been checked by race officials after the race. The leading riders in the special received a twenty minute sanction for missing one of the waypoints which meant that Paulo Gonçalves was reclassified up into third place. Today, the Portuguese rider had a tough time trying to whittle down the gap with race leaders due to the sheer amount of sand in the stage.
Australia’s Toby Price had been running third after the opening stage but speeding penalties on stage two put the KTM rider back by nearly two hours. Price has still been showing extremely strong pace and was fifth on today’s stage four.
Tomorrow will see the final stage of the Atacama Rally with a final special stage of a little over 100 kilometres that comes to a close in La Serena.
Paulo Goncalves – 4th on Stage Four – Eighth overall – “I’m fairly happy with today’s stage. I started from third and by kilometre 40 I was opening the way until almost the end. I’m pleased because I set a great pace and I knew that the riders behind would claw back a bit of time. The important thing is to keep up a good rhythm and navigate well. Everything went perfectly, the bike was impeccable and my navigating was great.”
2015 Cross Countries Rally – Round Five – Atacama Rally – Stage Four
- WALKNER Mathias AUT KTM Red Bull Rally Factory 3:02’20
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI KTM Warsaw Rally Team + 3’12
- SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 4’30
- GONCALVES Paulo POR Team HRC + 7’31
- PRICE Toby AUS KTM AUS Rally Factory + 9’53
- VILADOMS Jordi SPA KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 16’35
- ISRAEL Jeremias CHI Team HRC + 17’05
- PROHENS Felipe CHI Team Hermanos Prohens + 24’00
- MEO Antoine FRA KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 27’58
- ALBALOOSHI Mohammed UAE KTM UAC + 39’10
Atacama Rally – Stage Four Outright Standings
- WALKNER Mathias AUT KTM Red Bull Rally Factory 9:16’15
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI KTM Warsaw Rally Team + 2’27
- SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 6’14
- VILADOMS Jordi SPA KTM Red Bull Rally Factory + 21’37
- GOUET Daniel CHI KTM + 33’08
- ISRAEL Jeremias CHI Team HRC + 45’33
- PROHENS Felipe CHI Team Hermanos Prohens + 55’22
- GONCALVES Paulo POR Team HRC + 58’24
- ALBALOOSHI Mohammed UAE KTM UAC + 1:23’49
- CORNEJO José CHI XRaids + 1:26’06