Quintanilla wins rally as Australian Price earns top five on return from injury.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland has earned the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship by finishing second at the penultimate round of the series, while it was Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) who captured victory in the Atacama Rally.
Going into the final day with a narrow 54-second advantage, Quintanilla knew he would have to make the last 184.59-kilometre timed special count. As the fifth rider to enter the stage, the Chilean star immediately set about chasing down the riders ahead.
Maintaining good speed while making the minimum of mistakes on the short, but tricky, final stage, the former cross-country rallies world champion crossed the line with a close to two-minute advantage over Sunderland, winning his first event on return to competition following the injury he sustained at the Dakar Rally earlier this year.
Racing with incredible consistency, Sunderland finished inside the top three in all five stages of the Atacama Rally. The Brit did exactly what was needed of him during stage five, bringing his KTM 450 RALLY home safely and in turn secured his first-ever world championship.
The podium was locked out by Monster Energy Honda Team’s Joan Barreda, while Australian Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was fourth in his comeback from injury, finishing ahead of Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team). The series now heads to Morocco on 3-9 October for the Rally du Maroc.