Stage 1 of the Atacama Rally was marked by victories of Chilean riders Pablo Quintanilla and Ignacio Casale. Hernan Garces and Juan Pablo Latrach scored the stage victory in cars.
The Atacama Rally left Viña del Mar to join La Serena in today’s first stage of the fifth date of the Cross Country Rally World Championship. Chilean KTM rider Pablo Quintanilla playing local scored the best time followed by team mates Sam Sunderland (UK) and Toby Price (Australia).
“In spite of being a short stage, it was difficult due to the conditions of the road. It was so complex that I fell down a few meters after the start. Fortunately, it wasn’t bad. Now, I have to focus on tomorrow because it means I have to open the road, which is not always easy due to navigation,” said Pablo Quintanilla.
In quads, the victory was for another Chilean: Ignacio Casale. Casale marked a stage victory with over two minutes over Polland rider Rafal Sonik. Uruguayan rider Mauro Almeida was the last quad to close today’s timed section.
“This first stage of the Atacama Rally was positive. We opened the road and won, which makes me feel glad. I want to take care of the quad, avoid any mechanical issue to win this date of the Cross Country World Championship,” said Casale at the finish line.
The Atacama Rally is also valid for the third date of the South American Codasur Championship for cars in which today’s victory was for Hernan Garces and Juan Pablo Latrach. The Chilean duo completed a perfect stage with 8 minutes over second place, Luis Eguiguren.
“We are glad with this victory, and mostly because of the Ford Ranger’s behavior. It worked very well. Also, I want to congratulate my co-driver, who did a great job leading me to this victory,” highlighted Hernan Garcés at the finish line.
Tomorrow, the stage will join La Serena and Copiapo with a total of 367 kilometers. It will be a technical and complicated stage that will challenge all competitors.
1° (3) Pablo Quintanilla (Chile/KTM)) 45’ mins 40” 23
2° (9) Sam Sunderland (UK/KTM) 45’41”23
3° (8) Toby Price (Australia/KTM) 45’42”40