12.08.2017

KTM riders ready to race the Atacama Rally

3rd Rd. Rally 2017 – Atacama Rally (CHL)
Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY Qatar 2017

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Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland hasn’t put a foot wrong this season. Following on from his winning result at the 2017 Dakar Rally, wins in Abu Dhabi and Qatar have cemented his position at the top of the world rankings. The British rider currently leads the championship by 21 points.

Sunderland is looking to carry his impressive form into the Atacama Rally. Fully rested after the summer break, he is confident of a good result.

Sunderland: “I’m feeling strong and fit so I’m looking forward to having a good race here in Chile. My bike is working really well and I’m hoping to continue my good form from the start of the season. It’s a perfect event to prepare for the Dakar - the team has worked really hard to get here and it’s always good to race in South America, in order to get used to the terrain.

“There is going to be some tough competition from the other teams and the local riders. It’s five very hard days riding,  but I’m up for the fight.”

Sunderland’s teammate Matthias Walkner is also looking to do well at the Atacama Rally. Walkner lies fourth in the championship, just one-point behind second placed Pablo Quintanilla.

Walkner, who finished the 2017 Dakar as runner-up to Sunderland, is focused on climbing up the world championship rankings and has his sights set on a good result in Chile.

Walkner: “It’s cool to be back in race mode after the summer break. Preparation has been pretty good over the last few months, but I am ready now to get racing again. I really enjoy riding in South America, I love the different terrain we ride here. Hopefully, the road book will be ok and we’ll have a good event. There are a lot of other good riders here, and Sam is very motivated, but I’m going to be going for the podium.”

KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz is also fired up for the Atacama Rally. After spending the first half of the year riding enduro, the Spaniard is now starting her preparation for the Dakar in January. Jumping aboard her KTM 450 RALLY just one week ago, the world’s best female Dakar rider will use the Atacama Rally to reacquaint herself with rally riding.

Sanz: “It’s nice to be back on the rally bike and it’s always nice to ride here in Chile. This is my first rally race this year since Dakar, so the bike still feels a little unfamiliar. My goal here is to put in some distance on the bike, practice navigation and try to get my rhythm back. It’s never easy after such a long break, but I will ride my best.”

The Atacama Rally is a predominantly desert based rally held in the north of the Chile, starting in the dunes of the Atacama region.

A 14km Prologue kicks off the event on Sunday 13th August before the main event starts on Monday with the first of five full days covering 1900km, over 1400 of which are special stages.

2017 FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship Standings after round two
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 60 points
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 40pts
3. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 39pts
4. Mattias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 39pts
5. Pierre Alexandre Renet (FRA), Husqvarna, 28pts
Other KTM
6. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 25pts
7. Mohammed Al Balooshi (ARE), KTM, 23pts
8. Adam Tomiczek (POL), KTM, 20pts

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Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY Qatar 2017 (. jpg )

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