The world’s best riders will now compete against each other across a multitude of technical tracks, sand dunes and demanding sandy sections in the Atacama Desert that they have crossed many times before.
This year features a compact route with short liaisons between the start and finish points of the stages. Lack of rain in the region means no flowering desert this time…
The mining town of Copiapó will be the nerve centre of the Atacama Rally once again and will host the Rally HQ, while rally officials stay at the nearby Antay Hotel and Tierra Amarilla, 16km from the city, hosts the service park.
In the motorcycle category, almost all the factory teams are present. Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing) will be keen to defend his crown and shine on home sand. The Chilean will be supported in his quest for success by the American Andrew Short.
Five riders will represent the Monster Energy Honda Team: Kevin Benavides, Paulo Gonçalves, Ignacio Cornejo, Ricky Brabec and Joan Barreda.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Team includes three Dakar winners – Matthias Walkner, Sam Sunderland and Toby Price.
Yamalube Yamaha will also be present with the two French riders Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier de Soultrait, who climbed into the spotlight at the beginning of the year. They will be accompanied by the Argentinean rider Franco Caimi.
Finally, the Hero Motorsport Rally Team has entered two riders – Oriol Mena and Joachim Rodrigues – in Chile for the first time.
In addition to Ignacio Cornejo, the Orlen Team’s Maciej Giemza will compete in the Junior category alonside Adam Tomiczeck.
A total of 25 motorcycles and 10 quads, including Aleksandr Maksimov and Rafal Sonik, will take the start, the latter after long months of absence from the handlebars.
The rally program starts on Saturday, August 11 with the distribution of equipment and teams will pass the administration and technical checks at the Antay Hotel in Copiapó on August 12.
On Monday, August 13, at around 17.00hrs, riders will tackle a two-kilometre super special stage that will determine the starting order for the first proper stage the next day.
•Tuesday, August 14 – SS1: 266.30km
•Wednesday, August 15 – SS2: 375.60km
•Thursday, August 16 – SS3: 259.27km
•Friday, August 17 – SS4: 253.54km
•Saturday, August 18 – SS5: 155.83km
Total – 1,450.50km