Atacama Rally: Kevin Benavides wins stage two

2017-08-15 20:10
The Atacama Rally heads north in Chile with a lightning-paced Kevin Benavides taking the triumph in the second stage. Paulo posted sixth spot.

The Atacama Rally left Copiapó bound for the north in a second stage affected by an accident involving French rider Pela Renet who had to be airlifted to safety by helicopter. For safety reasons the special stage was shortened to the neutralization zone, where the fastest competitor at that point had been Monster Energy Honda Team rider Kevin Benavides. The Argentinean rider thus reduces the gap with overall leader Quintanilla to just seven seconds.

Paulo Gonçalves, who set off sixth after receiving a somewhat dubious penalization, also finished the day in sixth place as well as occupying the same place in the general standings.

This second stage of the Atacama Rally linked the towns of Copiapó and Tal Tal, more than three hundred kilometres away in the north of Chile on the Pacific coast.
There were 308 kilometres of special timed stage in which the pilots encountered a variety of terrain types, predominantly fast track, but with some dunes earlier in the day.
The start was delayed an hour and a half by the appearance of the camanchaca, the early morning mist typical in these regions.
Due to the accident of Pela Renet, only the first part of the special was completed, until the neutralization section at kilometre 164.
Tomorrow the Atacama Rally will pass its half-way point: the third stage will take the riders from Tal Tal to another coastal area: Mejillones. It will feature some 349 kilometres of timed special before arriving at the check point in La Negra.
Paulo Goncalves
Today the stage was cut in half, but we had a quite interesting first part of 170 kilometres with some navigation and broken tracks, with quite a lot of stones. I lost two minutes to the winner, but I'm still in there, not far off. I'll try to do it right and do the best I can each day and see if the penalty was really a roadbook error. Let's keep moving on.

Paulo Goncalves
Kevin Benavides
I felt really good today. I kept a good pace throughout the stage. At first, with sand, valleys and navigation until kilometre 70. Then, there were faster tracks. The idea today was to get a good position, maybe it was not the best thing to do to win, but I'm glad I got this victory. There are three days ahead and we are going to challenge the mathematics of it and keep up a good rhythm until Iquique. It’s a pity for Pela, I wish him a speedy recovery and a return to the track as soon as possible.

Kevin Benavides
Stage 2 Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team 1:39'25
Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team +0'17
Franco ARG Yamaha Motor Europe +0'38
Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team +1'03
Xavier FRA Yamaha Motor Europe +1'39
Paulo POR

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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