Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has successfully crossed the finish line at the 2022 Atacama Rally to complete the five-day event in second overall. Forming part of what was a small but competitive line-up, Luciano was in contention for overall victory from day one and would end the rally on a high by claiming the final stage win to secure his runner-up finish.
Using the event as part of his preparation for the upcoming rounds of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, Luciano was eager to put recent developments to his FR 450 to the test in a real racing environment. With the Atacama Rally comprising five stages and taking riders across 1258 kilometres of technical terrain, the race proved to be the perfect testing ground.
From day one, Luciano was in the fight for the lead before losing a little time on the penultimate stage. Undeterred, the Argentine regrouped to take a commanding victory on the final special of the event to advance from fourth to second in the standings. Finishing as runner-up and exactly two minutes from overall victory underlined what was an encouraging result for Luciano at the Atacama Rally.
Skyler Howes was absent from competing at the Atacama Rally but will return to action with Luciano at the Rallye du Maroc on October 1-6, the penultimate round of the 2022 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship.
Luciano Benavides: “I’m really happy with my performance this week and it was great to end with a stage win and finish second overall. I really pushed for the win but with everyone being so close it was difficult to make up time. With the team we tested a lot prior to this race and what we have worked on has made a huge difference. The bike was perfect all week so the hard work has paid off. This race has been great for preparation ahead of the next world championship rounds and I’m feeling really confident ahead of the Rallye du Maroc next month.”
2022 Atacama Rally – Provisional Overall Classification
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 17:35:35
2. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 17:37:35
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 17:40:02
4. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 17:42:00
5. Daniel Nosiglia (KTM) 19:20:39