KTM riders sweep podium at Atacama Rally
KTM riders, Claudio Rodriguez and Pablo Quintanilla both of Chile took 1-2 in the Atacama Rally on Saturday with KTM factory rider Marc Coma completing the podium after officials were forced to cut the distance of the planned final stage because of fog.
“I got into difficulties in the last 20 km and I missed a waypoint,” Coma said. “But I am still happy with the outcome of the week. We do not have many chances to ride in the Atacama ahead of the Dakar and so we took this opportunity. We started slow in the first stage but as the week went on I started to push. By today I was feeling very good on the bike and I had a good rhythm.”
Coma’s Atacama Rally
The following day riders encountered a lot of fesh-fesh, fine dust and sand that looks deceptively like solid ground, and many stones. It was also the second day of the marathon stage demanding a measure of caution to bring both bike and rider home safely. Coma was now in fourth overall but still had to make up 15 minutes 23 seconds on the leader. Ahead of Stage Four he conceded that it would be difficult to recover the time in a rally of such short duration. The situation changed overnight when his rival Joan Barreda received a 15-minute penalty, as did the Chilean duo Rodriguez and Quintanilla.
Coma finished third in Stage Four on Friday, just under four minutes behind stage winner Quintanilla with Barreda in second but as a result of the penalties he moved up to second overall and only 2 minutes 26 off the leader’s time. He looked well placed to take the win but missing the waypoint spoiled his chances.
1, Claudio Rodríguez, CHI, KTM at 1:52.10
Final overall standings