The Atacama Rally sees the full Monster Energy Honda Team back in action for Round Three of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. There won’t be any beach or holidays for the riders this summer, but they can, however, look forward to plenty of sand at the races.
Kevin Benavides, Paulo Gonçalves, Joan Barreda, Ricky Brabec and Nacho Cornejo, the five riders of the Monster Energy Honda Team, are en route to Chile this week to take part in the Atacama Rally whose points count towards the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
Four months have elapsed since the Monster Energy Honda Team competed in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the opening event of the world championship. The squad’s Argentine rider made it onto the podium on that occasion, while Gonçalves finished fifth and Brabec sixth. Nacho Cornejo became the top junior with an eighth overall place in the Middle East race. Joan Barreda, after recovering from the wrist operation he had undergone in mid-February, returned to competition for the following Merzouga Rally in April, where he made off with a hard-fought victory, while Benavides added to the team’s successes with second place on the rostrum alongside his team-mate.
The Chilean race, which will have its nerve centre in the city of Copiapó, will start with the mandatory administrative and technical checks on Sunday, August 12, before the five Honda CRF450 RALLY can finally put pedal to the metal in the Atacama Desert. The action will run from Tuesday 14th August to Saturday 18th. The bivouac for the race will be located in Tierra Amarilla.
1 14 August Copiapó-Copiapó 76.62 266.30 15.95 358.87
2 15 August Copiapó-Vallenar-Copiapó 43.09 375.91 21.88 440.88
3 16 August Copiapó-Ojos del Salado-Copiapó 37.79 259.27 38.11 335.17
4 17 August Copiapó-Chañaral-Caldera-Copiapó 39.66 253.54 78.19 371.39
5 18 August Copiapó-Copiapó 30.12 154.94 20.48 205.54
Total 1,309.86 1,711.85
Monster Energy Honda Team Manager
We are very happy to be back in action. We have reached the most decisive point of the season, with three races practically back to back in South America which will be very important for our riders to prepare for the Dakar Rally. Here in Chile, in the Atacama, there will be a lot of sand and a lot of dunes which will be a favourable element get to grips with the kind of conditions that we can expect in January. Four months have passed since the most recent world championship race and in this second race for the Monster Energy Honda Team, we will try and be in the battle for the victory to keep all our options open, as much for Kevin Benavides and Paulo Gonçalves, as for the rest of the team: Joan Barreda, Ricky Brabec and Nacho Cornejo. I wish to thank Honda Motor de Chile for their great support and collaboration in our preparation for this race.