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.
, who was second in the overall standings after Friday’s Stage Four looked set to take the victory after his main rival Joan Barreda decided not to start in the final leg.  But the shortened final stage also threw up problems in the road book description and Coma got into navigational difficulties in the final part of the ride.

“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
Stage One saw the Red Bull athlete having difficulties with a broken GPS. He had to take a cautious approach and came in 21 minutes behind the leader. With the problem quickly solved he turned up the heat in Stage Two to take the win, narrowing the gap to overall leader by nine minutes but was still in fifth overall.AR_5

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.
Coma now returns to Europe and will immediately begin testing and his concentrated preparation to defend his 2014 Dakar title back in South America in January 2015. He competes on the KTM 450 Rally bike.

Atacama Rally
Stage Five: Copiapó-La Serena
Note: Fog at the start of the race caused planned stage to be cut dramatically in distance

1, Claudio Rodríguez, CHI, KTM at 1:52.10
2, Marc Coma ESP, KTM, at 7.38
3, Cristian Naser CHI at 9.42
4, Pablo Quintanilla, CHI, KTM, T 10.22
5, Juan Alvatra, BOL, at 12.27
6, Daniel Gouet, CHI, 15.53
7, Jordano Sepulveda, CHI at 15.53
8, Enrique Guzmán at 36.01
DNS: Joan Barreda, ESP, Honda

Final overall standings
1, Rodriguez 18:34.29
2, Quintanilla at 3.49
3, Coma, at 10.25
4, Gouet, at 2:02.19
5, Naser at 2:25.16



Coma wraps up his outing to the Atacama Desert with a third place finish
Coma in action in Chile
Stage five cut short because of fog