KTM’s Sam Sunderland moves up to third overall after Atacama Rally stage three

Courtesy of KTM Racing

Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing team riders pushed hard today on a very rough stage three of the 2017 Atacama Rally. Sam Sunderland brought his KTM 450 RALLY home in third place, closely followed by Matthias Walker who improved his pace today to post the fifth quickest special stage time. Laia Sanz also had a better day finishing 11th, only seconds from the top ten.

Stage three of the Atacama Rally hosted the second longest special stage of the event at 349km, following a former Dakar Rally loop north of Taltal.

Riding fast and with just a couple of errors, 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland put in a great performance to finish third. This result moves him up to third in the overall standings.

Sunderland:I was having such a good stage today, I was riding my best and making up a lot of time. Unfortunately, at kilometre 282 I realised I had missed a waypoint so I had to turn back. This of course ended up losing me some time. I had caught and passed the rider that set off in front of me, but it’s always better to turn around and pick up the checkpoint rather than get a 20-minute penalty.

“After that I pushed on really hard again, only to clip a rock in a slower, bumpy part of the stage and derail my chain. It didn’t take too long to fix, but was just a few more seconds lost. Other than that, I am so happy with how I’m riding and I’m really looking forward to the long stage tomorrow.”

For Sunderland’s Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing team-mate, Matthias Walkner, stage three also went well. The Austrian posted a good result with fifth on the special stage which in turn moves him up the standings to sixth overall.

Walkner: “That was a better stage for me today. Physically it was very tiring – the stage was quick and yet so rough in places so that takes it out of you. I am suffering a little from having to take antibiotics, but it’s not too bad. I really enjoyed the second half of the stage that followed the old Dakar loop, it’s really fast. I know my pace is improving but I still have a little work to do to get back towards the front.”

KTM Rally Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz rode a steady special stage today in order to stay out of trouble. Without any disruption, she put in a good, solid ride to finish stage three in 11th place.

Sanz: “It was a very fast and dangerous stage today. There was lots of fesh-fesh, which I really don’t like. For me, this rally is more about becoming accustomed to the bike and getting used to navigation again. Because of this I just tried to ride as fast, but as safely, as I could and get to the finish in one piece. My riding is good and pace is competitive so I am happy. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Stage four of the 2017 Atacama Rally takes the riders north again, up the coast to the city of Iquique. The special stage is the longest of the event at 375km.
Provisional Results – Stage 3 Atacama Rally 2017
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 3:16:43
2. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 3:20:17 +3:34
3. Sam Sunderland, (GBR), KTM, 3:20:20 +3:37
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:21:34 +4:51
5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:22:51 +6:08
Other KTM
9. Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), KTM, 3:38:16 +21:33
10. Daniel Gouet (CHL), KTM, 3:42:21 +25:38
11. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 3:42:35 +25:52
Provisional Standings – Atacama Rally 2017 after 3 of 5 stages

1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 7:20:23
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 7:25:21 +4:58
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 7:30:15 +9:52
4. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 7:32:22 +11:59
5. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 7:32:40 +12:17
Other KTM
6. Matthias Walkner (AUS), KTM, 7:38:07 +17:44
9. Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), KTM, 3:38:16 +21:33
10. Daniel Gouet (CHL), KTM, 3:42:21 +25:38
11. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 8:20:20 +59:57



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