Two Chilean racing stars took the top honors in their classes in Peru earlier this month in the latest leg of the Dakar Series — the world-renowned off-road racing series that culminates with the famous Dakar Rally.
The race took car drivers as well as quad and motorcycle riders across the sandy Inca Desert in southern Peru’s Pisco province.
Pablo Quintanilla, 25, rode into the top spot in the Desafio Inca’s Moto class on his Austrian-made KTM 450 with a cumulative time of 11:56:05. The win earns him qualification for the 2014 Dakar Rally set to run from Rosario, Argentina through southern Bolivia and south through Chile before finishing in Valparaíso in January.
His countryman Ignacio Casale, 26, was also victorious in Peru, earning a qualification for the rally with his top time of 12:54:37 in the Quad class on his Yamaha Raptor 700. Casale ran away in his group, earning the top time in the first and final sections, with a still-strong showing in the second stage. The performance put him more than 26 minutes ahead of second place.
Casale’s dominant performance in the Desafio Inca is his first international rally win.
Quintanilla, meanwhile, faced a stiffer challenge in his top-of-the-podium showing. The Chilean rider showed the time and tuning that went into his KTM machine by taking the top time and overall lead in the first stage. After that, he faced an intense challenge from Frenchman David Casteu, who took the second special but was unable to make up time on the still-blisteringly fast Quintanilla and finished roughly 9 and a half minutes behind the Chilean racer.
The wins are the latest boost to Chile’s international rallying reputation, which was handed a huge advantage with the Dakar Rally’s relocation from Africa and Europe to South America.
Earlier this year, Casale took second in his class as the iconic race finished in Santiago. Fellow Chilean and local racing legend Francisco “Chaleco” López took third overall in the Moto class in the 2013 contest.