Stage 1 of Atacama Rally finished on a solid note for Hero MotoSports Team Rally with both the riders running a steady first stage.
Returning back to professional rally racing after a 6 month gap, Joaquim Rodrigues started cautiously and kept it steady throughout without taking any unwanted risk to finish the stage in the 15th position.
His team mate Oriol Mena also had a solid stage and kept his focus on not committing any mistakes and on riding safe. He finished the stage 1 in 13th position.
Today’s stage was a mix of hard pack and the dunes of Copiapo region that challenged the competitors with a 266 km stage and a total run of close to 360 kms including the liaison sections.
Stage 2 of the rally will see the contenders compete in the longest stage of the rally starting at Copiapo and pass through the Vallenar region before looping back to finish at Copiapo.
Joaquim Rodrigues (Comp #16): « I am happy with the stage today. Important thing for me is to get some kms on the bike and just look to finish the stages so yeah it was a good day today for me and the team. I am coming back from an injury so this kind of stage is very tough for me. My back is going to be a bit sore tonight for sure but I am feeling ok. »
Oriol Mena (Comp #14): « It was just the first day of a long race. I tried to focus on not committing any navigation mistakes and riding safe. So no mistakes, no crashes and the bike was really good so I am happy with today. I feel really good and the bike is really good so will see how it goes tomorrow. »
Stage 1 – Provisional and Overall General Classifications
1. Kevin Benavides, Honda Racing, Honda, 02:52:23
2. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna Factory Team, Husqvarna, +04s
3. Toby Price, Redbull KTM Factory Team, KTM, +6m 15s
13. Oriol Mena, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +23m 54s
15. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero Motosports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +37m 42s…