August 26, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla on Thursday took a confident Stage Three victory at the Atacama Rally in Chile as riders entered the dunes for the first time in this five-stage event. Quintanilla finished the almost 203 km stage in 2:10.55 and is now in second overall, trailing Price by just 21 seconds as the rally continues to evolve into a tight contest between these two riders.
Pablo Quintanilla: “It was a difficult stage, with a lot of navigation, course changes and complicated notes to read, but for me it was positive. I was able to win the stage again and I felt good from start to finish. I was always pushing and I recovered important time in the overall standings. I’m seconds away from Toby (Price) and that is clearly positive. Tomorrow we will face the hard surface of the mountain roads but I will continue the way I have been, to try to keep the rhythm and not make any mistakes.”
On Thursday Quintanilla looked at home and confident. He was able to put aside the six-minute speeding penalty from the previous day and ride a near perfect stage. Team Coordinator, Daniel Trauner said he had been very fast all day and had pushed to hard for his stage win, his second in the competition. As the rally settles into a phase where navigation becomes more challenging, the Chilean went out at number four in the start order, thus being relieved of the responsibility of opening the stage.
Teammate Pela Renet, a little dejected after a ninth place finish in the stage made some navigational errors and lost some 22 minutes over the timed special.
Pela Renet: “I was again in the top 10 today. It was a shorter stage and no less difficult. Once again it was experience that was the key in handling the navigation and I definitely missed having it. I am still makeint too many mistakes.”
Daniel Trauner: “The factory bikes (FR 450 Rally) are running perfectly and the mechanics are doing a brilliant job, as is the whole team. Tomorrow we will have lots of piste, stony terrain and dunes.”
Results/Standings Atacama Rally 2016 after Stage 3 of 5
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 2:10.55 h
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, +3.28
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 5:29
4. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, +8.01
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR) 12:05
6. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 14.11
9. Pela Renet (FRA), Husqvarna, 22.33
Standings after Stage 3
1. Price 8:18.26
2. Quintanilla + 0.21
3. Benavides +4.08
4. Goncalves +7.44
5. Walkner +26.11
Source: Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH