The venue for the third round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship will be the Atacama desert!
Chile, 12 to 18 August 2017
This week, Husqvarna, KTM, Honda and Yamaha packed their bags and headed for Chile and the town of Copiapó where the administrative and technical verifications for the Atacama Rally will be taking place on 12 August, followed by the prologue on 13 August and the first Special on 14.
Copiapó is a mining town right in the middle of the famous Atacama Desert, reputed to be the driest in the world. Here, the riders’ playground will be just sand and more sand: majestic dunes and technically demanding trails. But they will have to be very careful to stay on the trails this year, as, exceptionally, the desert is in bloom after unexpected rains in March and May. The Flowering Desert is a great attraction in Chile when the desert becomes covered in thousands of blooms, white, blue, violet and yellow. A gift of the Pachamama, it is a wonder to behold!
Here in Chile, reigning FIM Cross Country Rallies World Champion Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) is out to show Sam Sunderland (KTM), winner of the two first rounds and current top of the leader board on 61 points, who’s boss. Sunderland lives in Dubai and the first two rounds, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Qatar Rally, were held in his back yard, but this time the guy from Chile is on home ground and we can expect to see an interesting mano a mano.
The rest of the field includes many who can get in the mix, starting with Paulo Gonçalves (Honda), who will be accompanied by Argentina’s Kevin Benavides (Honda). KTM is also fielding Matthias Walkner and Laia Sanz and Husqvarna has entered Pela Renet.
This year, for the first time, Yamaha is joining the cracks of the category to contest the Atacama Rally with Franco Caimi from Argentina, Xavier de Soultrait and Adrien Van Beveren.
Chile is also happy to welcome David McBride (KTM) and Dave Mabbs (KTM), both residents of the UAE.
In quad, there are also some serious customers at the start with Rafal Sonik (Yamaha), Chile’s Ignacio Casale (Yamaha), Alexis Hernandez from Peru, Kees Koolen and Rodolfo Guillioli. Eleven quadriders in all will be joining the 24 motorcyclists taking part in the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship and the Chilean national championship here in Chile.
So join us next Saturday, 12 August, for the administrative and technical verifications at the Antay hotel in Copiapó!