Honda Succeeds at Atacama Rally: Next Stop, the Desafío Ruta 40
This is a press release from Monster Energy Honda…
There will be little rest for the Monster Energy Honda Team who, after the successes achieved in the Atacama Rally, head off to Argentina to tackle the next great world championship challenge: the Desafío Ruta 40.
Kevin Benavides stormed to a decisive and convincing victory this week in Chile, where after five days of racing, the rider clinched top honors in the Atacama Rally. This marks the first time that the team and the Honda CRF450 RALLY have triumphed in the grueling competition across the Chilean desert. Likewise, after seven years of competition, the Argentinean rider’s win sees the first non-Chilean name inscribed in the rally’s roll of honor.
The Argentine mounted the top step of the podium after winning three stages of the Atacama Rally, imposing a break-neck pace on the competition from meter one until the race concluded in Tierra Amarilla five stages later. Kevin Benavides now lies in the top spot of the overall FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship on level pegging with current champion Chilean Pablo Quintanilla.
Paulo Gonçalves occupied a sixth final position after regaining top-level pace after several intense months of recovery from the injuries that had forced the Portuguese rider out of the most recent Dakar. Paulo experienced some navigational hiccups on the first day’s racing but never looked back. Jose Ignacio Cornejo went from zero to hero at this Atacama. The Chilean rider recovered from a crash on day one and improved day by day to finish seventh overall. American Ricky Brabec had to take the rough with the smooth in the Chilean desert. The ninth overall place was partly due to the sanction given for not correctly validating a waypoint on the third day.
The Honda CRF450 RALLY showed both its speed and reliability after more than 1700 kilometers of Atacama Rally without giving the slightest problem over the five days racing.
VIDEO | Monster Energy Honda Team Atacama Rally 2018
Monster Energy Honda Team are now poised to cross the Andes to take part in next week’s Desafío Ruta 40, the fourth event whose points count towards the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Ruta 40 will start with a prologue in San Miguel de Tucumán next Sunday, August 26 and finishes in San Juan on Friday 31. By the time competitors have ridden across four Argentinean provinces, they will have clocked up over 2285 kilometers, including 1421 kilometers against the clock. After having receiving logistical support in Chile, for next week’s competition in Argentina, Monster Energy Honda Team will again count on the logistical support from Honda Motor Argentina.
Raul Castells | Monster Energy Honda Team Manager
After this week of intense competition for the Monster Energy Honda Team, in which we have participated in the Atacama, the team is once again in Honda Motor of Chile to prepare the Desafío Ruta 40. It has been hard work but at the same time satisfying as we have achieved an unprecedented success by winning the Atacama Rally for the first time with Kevin Benavides, who showed a great level of form by winning three stages. Paulo Gonçalves, Ricky Brabec and Nacho Cornejo have collaborated to the success of the Monster Energy Honda Team with a good team effort, where everyone, not only the riders, but also the mechanics and assistants have done a great job.
We also want to thank all the logistical facilities that Honda Motor de Chile has put at our disposal these days to be able to compete in the Atacama Rally, and also Honda Argentina for the support during the Desafío Ruta 40. I also wish to thank Honda and HRC for the great support and the great effort work that they have done on the Honda CRF450 RALLY, as they have built a great motorcycle which is reliable, has great handling and is very powerful.
Monster Energy Honda Team was riding in Atacama Rally 2018 with a fabulous final result as Kevin Benavides winner of the competition. It is the 3rd round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.