Following their victorious outing at the season opener in Abu Dhabi, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team are all set to make their return to the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship this coming week in Chile. Playing host to the third round of the 2018 series, the five-stage Atacama Rally will allow Pablo Quintanilla and Andrew Short to go head-to-head against the international elite of rally racers in preparation for the coming Dakar Rally in January, 2019.
Winner of the opening round of the 2018 series in Abu Dhabi, Pablo Quintanilla has his eyes set on successfully defending his FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title for the third consecutive season. With the team opting not to contest round two in Doha, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider is currently second in the provisional championship standings with three multi-stage rallies still to be contested in 2018. As the reigning Atacama Rally champion, Pablo can’t wait to get things going at this 2018 edition of the event.
Working hard during the last few months to improve in every little detail of his riding and navigation, Andrew Short will be looking to for a good overall placement at his first Atacama Rally this coming week. A strong asset for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team, the former motocross/supercross star is really looking forward to the 2018 Atacama Rally challenge.
Kicking off this Monday, August 13, the 2018 Atacama Rally will take place around the Chilean city of Copiapó. It features five long rally stages in various terrains, with the total length of timed special tests exceeding 1,300km. The race will end in the city of Copiapó on Saturday, August 18.
Daniel Trauner – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally team manager: “We are more than ready for the Atacama Rally challenge. Pablo and Andrew have been both working a lot for this event and we can’t wait to see them back racing their rally machines. Our main goal this season is to the retain our World Championship and we will do all we can to help Pablo win this title for a third consecutive season. Back to full fitness following a minor injury he sustained while training in Spain, Pablo is really looking forward to this race on his home Chilean soil. Pablo spent the last couple of weeks training hard on his Husqvarna. Taking advantage of his vast experience in multi-stage rallies, we believe a spot on the Atacama Rally podium is well within Pablo’s reach and will allow him to regain the lead in the provisional championship standings. As for Andrew, he’s been working really hard back in the US to improve his navigational skills and his speed in the long stages. We want to see him gradually close the time gap to the top riders on each stage. He’s been making some good progress and getting some well-needed experience and we are all confident he will keep improving day by day at this event. The level here at the Atacama Rally will be quite elevated this year and this will be a good chance to test ourselves against the best rally riders and teams in the world in preparation for the 2019 Dakar Rally.”