FIM Cross-Country Rallies Championship, round 3
September 1st-7th, 2019
Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) had not raced for eight months since seriously injuring his ankle on the Dakar Rally. But, racing in his desert, the Chilean came back stronger than ever and crossed the finish line as the winner of the Atacama Rally on the final stage.
Sam Sunderland (KTM) finished second in the race and also eased into an unassailable 39-point lead in the championship over Andrew Short (Husqvarna). With only one event remaining in the series, the Briton cannot be caught and is the new FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion!
In the quad category, Rafal Sonik (Yamaha) celebrates his eighth crown as the winner of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Cup.
The third round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship calendar began with the return of three major riders injured at the Dakar and absent all season - Matthias Walkner (KTM), Toby Price (KTM) and Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna).
Price set the bar high in the first kilometres and won the super special stage and then stage four. Quintanilla won the first, third and fifth stages, leaving Kevin Benavides (Honda) to win stage two, having held the overall advantage for a day.
At the finish, the emotional Chilean winner soaked up his victory and also snatched the lead in the FIM Latin American Championship: "I never worried about the result,” Quintanilla said with a broad smile. “The important thing for me was to find the feeling on the bike and to resume my progress in the desert. After eight months of very difficult recuperation, I cannot believe that I won the Atacama Rally. It’s a very special victory for me!"
Second overall, Sunderland was crowned World Champion: "I'm really happy to have finished this race, here in Chile, because it was hard like every year. I thank my team who did an amazing job and my team-mate Toby Price who changed the brake disc with me in the Marathon stage when mine failed. I'm really happy, very happy!"
Joan Barreda (Honda) had a great race and finished on the third step of the podium. "The beginning was not very convincing," he explained, "I made navigation_al errors. But, little-by-little, I came back from seventh place to third. I progressed every day and I found a good feeling with the bike. It is a great satisfaction for me to be on the podium again! "_
In the quad category, Rafal Sonik (Yamaha) managed his race perfectly to win from runner-up Luis Barahona (Yamaha): "As always, I loved this rally that offers us fantastic landscapes. Today, as yesterday, we were in the dunes overlooking the Pacific. It's magic. The road book was error-free, the organisation very good, the briefing very concise and clear, the ground very hard, but the layout was an excellent compromise between fast and technical. This is my eighth title of winner of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Cup in quad. I am happy to celebrate it here, in Chile, in this wonderful country!"
The Atacama Rally ended on a high note with a great atmosphere and a podium in the village square of Tierra Amarilla…
Overall Result Bike
1.Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 15h15'59
2.Sunderland (KTM) @3'56
4.Price (KTM) @11'24
5.Benavides (Honda) @15'41
Overall Result Quad
1.Sonik (Yamaha) 21'42.07
2.Barahona (Yamaha) 1h 44'16