Pablo Quintanilla and Pela Renet have their sights set on success at round three of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship as the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing duo gear-up for their participation in the 2017 Atacama Rally in Chile.
Contested over six days in the northern part of the country, the Atacama Rally will see Pablo Quintanilla race on home soil. Currently placed second in the provisional series’ standings, the FR 450 RALLY mounted rider will continue the fight to defend his 2016 title.
For Pablo’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Pela Renet, the Frenchman takes the trip to Chile looking to continue his strong run of form in the 2017 rally racing season. Securing a stage victory at the season opener in Abu Dhabi, for Pela the Atacama Rally represents a great opportunity to improve his speed and consistency in longer desert stages.
The Atacama Rally is the third of five rounds in the 2017 FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship. Kicking off on August 13 with a 14km-long Prologue in Copiapó, the event will see competitors race a total of 1957km. Featuring 1430km of timed specials, the big finish of the Atacama Rally 2017 will take place in Iquique on Friday, August 18.
Pablo Quintanilla: “It always feels special to be racing on home soil. Following my knee injury in Qatar I’ve worked hard to get back stronger. I’m feeling good at the moment and I can’t wait for the race to begin. For me it’s important to get a good start to this event. We all know that navigation in the desert is going to be quite tricky so my plan is to remain focused and push hard from the start. The key this coming week will be to remain fast and avoid mistakes in navigation. I’ve done a few races in the past in this part of the country so I feel comfortable with the terrain. In saying that, it’s going to be crucial for me to stay focused. This race is going to be tough for all but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Pela Renet: “I’ve been working hard since our last race in April and I’m more than ready for the Atacama Rally. We did some tests with the team and I’ve also been training a lot on my motocross bike. Physically I’m in a great place right now and I’m looking forward to the challenge. The Atacama Rally is a tough event with lots of navigation in the dunes. This year the event is taking place in a different location so the tracks and terrain are new to everybody. I want to keep learning and get as much experience as possible. The more time I spend racing my rally bike the more comfortable I feel to push. I’ve won a stage this season and step by step I’ve managed to reduce the gap to the riders at the top of the overall standings. We’ve made some great progress during the past few months and we want to keep this momentum going.”
2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship Standings (After Round 2)
1. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 61pts
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 40pts
3. Paulo Goncalves (Honda) 39pts
5. Pela Renet (Husqvarna) 28pts