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Desafío Ruta 40 2023: Both X-raid vehicles in the top 10

  • Strong performances were not rewarded
  • Halpern finishes sixth in the T1-classification, Ferreira eighth in the T3-category

With great anticipation, the X-raid team had travelled to the Desafío Ruta 40, the fourth of five events in the World Rally Raid Championship. In the past, the team from Trebur had been able to achieve several victories at the rally in Argentina. X-raid also secured victories in four editions of the Dakar Rally, which led through South America. But this year, the team experienced some setbacks due to technical problems. The two Argentines Sebastian Halpern and Bernardo "Ronnie" Graue finished sixth in the MINI JCW Rally Plus. Joao Ferreira and Manuel Porém (both POR) finished the rally in eighth place in the X-raid 1000R Turbo.

Both X-raid vehicles, the MINI JCW Rally Plus and the X-raid 1000R Turbo Side-by-Side, are constantly being developed and tested not only in tests but also in competitions.

Halpern initially got off to a very good start in his home race. In the prologue and on the first special stage he secured third place and was thus on course for the podium. But problems on the following two days set him back and prevented him from making it onto the podium. On the last two special stages, Halpern and Graue showed what could have been possible by finishing the day in fourth and second place.

Sebastian Halpern: "The Desafío Ruta 40 was very beautiful, but also difficult. The stages were long and offered every kind of terrain: gravel, sand, dunes - everything was represented. The navigation was also a challenge. Unfortunately, we had no luck in this rally. Nevertheless, we enjoyed driving here. Many thanks to the team for their hard work. Next year we will return stronger."

Ferreira had also started well in the Desafío Ruta 40. But problems on the first special stage cost the Portuguese a lot of time and he dropped back to 14th overall. Despite the setback, Ferreira did not give up and used the following stages to work his way back to the front. The Portuguese rider even managed to take the stage win on the fourth stage and to conquer fifth place overall. Unfortunately, his performance was not rewarded: on the last day, he was again on course for victory, but was stopped by technical problems. In the end, he had to settle for eighth place.

Joao Ferreira: "It was really fun to race in Argentina, despite the problems we had. The tracks are fun and very challenging - as they should be. Hopefully we can be back here next year."

After two events in the Americas, the FIA Word Rally Raid Championship moves to Africa. The Rally du Maroc will close the season in October and is also the last major rally before the 2024 Dakar in Saudi Arabia.

joao ferreira 5 9 w


Ruta 40 // overall standings (T1-category)
1. N. Al-Attyiah / M. Baumel – Toyota – 15h 10m 03s
2. J. Yacopini / D. Oliveras – Toyota – 15h 32m 06s
3. Y. Al-Rajhi / T. Gottschalk – Toyota – 15h 40m 30s
4. E. Amos / P. Ceci – Toyota – 16h 04m 57s
5. D. Krotov / K. Zhiltsov – Toyota – 18h 08m 33s
6. S. Halpern / R. Graue – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 35h 43m 24s

Ruta 40 // overall standings (T3-category)
1. M. Guthrie / K. Walch – MCE-5 – 16h 22m 31s
2. C. Gutierrez / P. Moreno – Can-Am – 16h 38m 49s
3. A. Jones / G. Gugelmin – Can-Am – 16h 50m 14s
4. F. Lopez / B. Jacomy – Can-Am – 16h 56m 18s
5. H. Garces / P. Latrach – Can-Am – 17h 27m 06s

8. J. Ferreira / M. Porém – X-raid 1000R Turbo – 33h 25m 49s

Source X-Raid

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in Argentinia!

  • Final stage win for Nasser and Mathieu
  • Overall race victory at Desafio Ruta 40
  • Co-driver’s and Manufacturers’ titles secured in W2RC
  • Flawless performance by GR DKR Hilux T1+ and its crew

The final stage of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel secure their fourth stage win of the race – and with it the overall victory for Round 4 of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Champiopnship (W2RC). The TGR crew wrapped up the final stage in a time of 2hr 34min 04sec, just 1min 03sec ahead of Sebastian Halpern, and 5min 5sec clear of Eugenio Amos and Paolo Ceci, in their privately entered Toyota Hilux T1+.

The final stage was run over a timed distance of 258km, with liaisons totalling 305km bringing the total distance for the day to 563km. The route started at the bivouac in Belén, and saw the teams race towards the Argentine city of Salta. Nasser and Mathieu were again the first car on the road, but despite having to find the route, the TGR crew managed to bring their Dakar-Winning GR DKR Hilux T1+ home in first place.

At the same time, privateer Toyota driver Yazeed Al Rahji, who is Nasser’s closest competitor in the W2RC standings, made a navigational error mid-stage. He became stuck in a ditch, and may well have failed to complete the stage, were it not for the kind assistance of teammate Juan Yacopini, in a similar Toyota Hilux T1+. Yacopini held a slender lead over Yazeed in the overall standings going into the final stage, but even so the young Argentine driver stopped to assist his Saudi teammate in a show of camaraderie and solidarity, which is a hallmark of many Toyota crews.

In the end, Nasser and Mathieu’s four stage wins saw them home in a total time of 15hr 10min 03sec, giving them a buffer of 22min 03sec over Yacopini in the final standings. Yazeed and co-driver Timo Gottschalk rounded out the podium, 30min 27sec behind the TGR crew. Notably, fourth place also belonged to a Toyota Hilux T1+ crew, in the form of Amos and Ceci.

The victory in Argentina netted Nasser and Mathieu 53 points towards their W2RC titles, with 30 points awarded for the race win; 5 points each for the four stage victories; and a further 3 points for their third place on Stage 2. This was enough to secure the co-drivers’ title for Mathieu, and the manufacturers’ title for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. The overall drivers’ title is still undecided, though Nasser holds a lead of 51 points over Yazeed in the standings. These points are, however, subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.

With Round 4 of the 2023 W2RC season behind them, just the final round of the year remains. The Rally of Morocco is scheduled for 12-18 October this year, and serves as the traditional pre-Dakar test session for all the major teams. With the co-driver and manufacturers’ titles already sewn up, TGR will be focusing on securing Nasser’s second consecutive W2RC title, in addition to testing and finalising the GR DKR Hilux T1+ for next year’s Dakar Rally.


Alain Dujardyn, TGR W2RC Team Principal: “The perfect end to a fantastic week of racing here in Argentina. Overall, we have every reason to be pleased with Nasser and Mathieu winning the race, and our Dakar-winning GR DKR Hilux T1+ again showing its strength. The fans here were amazingly enthusiastic, and we appreciate the support. I would also like to congratulate Juan Cruz Yacopini on his fantastic second place overall, achieved in front of his home crowd. In terms of the W2RC, we are happy to have already won the championships for co-driver and manufacturer, with just the driver title to be concluded in Morocco next month.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah:This was a really tough but exciting race. We had some issues with flat tyres on one of the stages, and I struggled to find a comfortable rear suspension setup early in the race. Even so, we had a great time here in South America, and I am very happy to add another victory to our list. The car was great; Mathieu did a good job; and now I am closer than ever to a second driver’s title in the W2RC.”

Mathieu Baumel: “Winning a second consecutive co-driver’s title in the W2RC is a proud moment for me. The Desafio Ruta 40 was a stern test, and winning the title here feels extr special, especially after all the years of racing in South America as part of the Dakar Rally. The fans were great, and I am ecstatic to leave Argentina as the W2RC champion co-driver for 2023.”

Source Toyota

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: South Racing-built Can-Ams win FIA t4 and finished second, third and fourth in T3 in Argentina

  • Local rookies Gustavo Gallego and Eugenio Arrieta prevail in FIA T4 class
  • Gutiérrez, Jones and Lopez take second, third and fourth in T3 in South Racing-built cars
  • Hernan Garces, Mattias Ekström and David Zille finish fifth, 10th and 12th in T3

South Racing-built Can-Ams won the FIA T4 category and finished second, third and fourth in the T3 class after a punishing six-day Desafío Ruta 40, the fourth round of the 2023 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC).

At the finish in Salta in north-west Argentina on Friday evening, the Argentine duo of Gustavo Gallego and Eugenio Arrieta sealed victory in T4 and South Racing-built cars sponsored by Red Bull were classified in second, third and fourth in T3, with Cristina Gutiérrez and Juan Pablo Moreno Huete leading the way in second place and Austin Jones and Gustavo Gugelmin coming home in third.

Gallego said: “This is the goal we set ourselves and we managed to finish in first place. We did things very well, we never stopped and we didn’t get lost. I’m more than happy as it was our first race. It was good to know that we were in the fight. We registered for T4 to see how this first experience was going to be and we were always with our mind set on finishing the race.”

South Racing entered two cars in the T4 class with the Spanish pairing of Eduardo Pons and Jamie Betriu crewing the second Maverick in competition with Gallego and Arrieta. Pons won the Prologue and three of the five demanding selective sections but delays on the third stage pushed the Spaniard down to third in the T4 classification.

The Swedish duo of Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist started as two of the favourites to prevail in the FIA T3 category for lightweight prototype cross-country machines and won the second and fifth stages, but technical issues on stage three cost them a lot of time and the crew played catch up for the remainder of the rally. They reached Salta in 10th place in T3 and seventh of the registered W2RC T3 crews.

Ekström said: “This is now my favourite rally-raid event. The stages have been a mix of everything. From WRC-style tracks to soft sand and duns. It was wet, dry, dusty and everything in-between!”

Hernan Garces and Bruno Jacomy were the highest-placed of the South Racing Can-Ams at the finish. The Chilean veteran was classified fifth in T3, while Argentinean team-mates David Zille and Sebastien Cesana were running strongly and holding a top five position before technical problems hampered their progress on stage four and dropped them to an eventual 12th.

As it happened

Action got underway with a nine-kilometre Prologue stage at La Rioja on Sunday (August 27th) and Ekström shone brightly for the South Racing Can-Am Team, the Swede carding the fifth quickest time overall and the second fastest in T3. Zille and Garces slotted into ninth and 11th in the category, while Pons and Gallego held the top two places in T4.

The opening selective section looped through remote terrain for 334km to the south of La Rioja. Ekström came home in fourth behind Guthrie, Lopez and Quintero, while Zille and Garces were seventh and 10th in T3.

In T4, Pons increased his advantage over team-mate Gallego to 4min 38sec. Ekström had been the quickest on the stage in the T3 race until he collected two flat tyres. Several crews, including Zille, Garces and Pons, has been delayed at the refuelling zone, however, and time was later deducted from their stage as a result.

Stage two ran for 340km between La Rioja and Belén and featured fast, winding tracks, the crossing of a great chott, fesh-fesh and an area of large sand dunes. The section of soft sand between km250 and km270 was treacherous and caught out several of the leading T1+ cars.

Ekström took full advantage to set the second fastest overall time behind the Toyota Hilux of Juan Cruz Yacopini and the result lifted the Swede to second in the T3 rankings, 2min 31sec behind Guthrie. Zille came home in fifth on the day. In T4, Pons won by just under 12 minutes from Gallego and increased his advantage to 22min 39sec.

T3 stage winner Ekström said: “We lost a bit of time in the fesh-fesh at the beginning passing a quad but, apart from that, we had a clean stage and enjoyed ourselves a lot.”

The third stage of 266km looped through terrain around the Belén bivouac in the Pie de Médano region to an altitude of over 2,6000 metres and included two small dune sectors, river crossings, fast tracks and some stony terrain. But it spelt problems for Ekström, who had started the special second on the road between two Toyotas but stopped after just 28km. Zille was eighth on the day and slipped to fifth in the general classification, while Garces came home in ninth to hold eighth.

In T4, Pons was badly delayed with technical issues on a stage where Gallego claimed his stage win and snatched the category advantage, with Pons slipping to fourth.

The penultimate stage of 345km was the second to loop around the Belén bivouac. Ferreira claimed the T3 stage win on a day where Garces, Ekström and Zille came home in sixth, eighth and Zille dropped to 12th overall after serious time delays on the stage. Pons recovered strongly from his day three issues to win the stage in T4 by 13min 30sec from category leader and team-mate Gallego.

The final stage of 258km ran between Belén and the finish in Salta and featured off-road sections over sandy surfaces in the Santa María River and then more traditional, fast and flowing WRC-style tracks to an altitude of 2,500 metres. Ekström claimed his second stage of the campaign on a day where Zille finished third and Garces was eighth.

The South Racing Can-Am Team receives valuable support for the race programme from Method Wheels, Tensor Tires, Motul, Jjuan Brake Systems and Sparco.

The final round of the FIA World Rally Raid Championship takes place in Morocco on October 12th-18th.

Desafío Ruta 40 – FIA T3 standings:
1. Mitch Guthrie (USA)/Kellon Walch (USA) MCE-5 4x4 16hr 22min 31sec
2. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP)/Juan Pablo Moreno Huete (ESP) Red Bull Can-Am Maverick X3 16hr 38min 49sec
3. Austin Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Red Bull Can-Am Maverick X3 16hr 50min 14sec
4. Francisco Lopez (CHL)/Juan Pablo Latrach (CHL) Red Bull Can-Am Factory Maverick X3 16hr 56min 18sec
5. Hernan Garces (CHL)/Bruno Jacomy (ARG) South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 17hr 27min 06sec*

Desafío Ruta 40 – FIA T4 standings:
1. Gustavo Gallego (ARG)/Eugenio Arrieta (ARG) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR 18hr 34min 37sec*
2. Enrico Gaspari (ITA)/Ricardo Torlaschi (ARG) Polaris RZR Pro R Sport 22hr 41min 26sec*
3. Eduardo Pons (ESP)/Jaume Betriu (ESP) South Racing Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR 38hr 07min 25sec*
4. Shinsuke Umeda (JPN)/Maurizio Dominella (ITA) Polaris RZR Pro R Sport 41hr 48min 02sec
* denotes not registered for the W2RC


Source: South Racing

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Luciano Benavides snatches maiden W2RC win

  • Among the RallyGP motorbikes competing in the W2RC, Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing) took his maiden win in a W2RC round, edging out Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda) and Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports). Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) surrendered his W2RC lead to Luciano Benavides, now in the hot seat with 80 points to the Australian's 71. Adrien Van Beveren remains third with 66.
  • Honda (128 points) snatched the lead from KTM (122) in the manufacturers' championship.
  • In Rally2, Bradley Cox (BAS World KTM Racing) opened his account in a W2RC round. Romain Dumontier (Husqvarna HT Rally Raid) moved into the championship lead with 79 points. The Frenchman toppled Paolo Lucci (BAS World KTM Racing), stuck with 66 points following his withdrawal from the race. Jean-Loup Lepan (Duust Rally) is still third, now with 58 points.
  • In Rally3, Ardit Kurtaj (Xraids Experience) emerged victorious from his duel with Mauricio Cueva. The Austrian, second in Mexico, now has 45 championship points, enough to defend his lead in the category.
  • Manuel Andújar trounced his adversaries —Rodolfo Guillioli and Juraj Varga— in the quad race, winning the first round of the season that he managed to complete. However, Laisvydas Kancius retained the championship lead with 69 points to Guillioli's 43 and Pablo Copetti's 38.

Luciano Benavides scored his first W2RC victory on home soil after his podium finishes in Sonora this year and Morocco last season. The Argentinian is the new leader of the W2RC with 80 points to Price's 71. The Australian, who suffered a mechanical in stage 2, owed his survival in the race only to the generosity of his teammate Matthias Walkner, who gave him his part out on the track. Price lost an hour in this whole fiasco and spent the remaining three stages in damage control mode. Seventh in the W2RC ranking of the DR40, he will head home with a meagre haul of 9 points —not enough to resist the rise of the Albiceleste, who took 25 points with his win, but sufficient to keep Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda) at bay, The Frenchman finished fourth in the RallyGP W2RC with 66 points to his name, 5 fewer than Price. Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports), third in the RallyGP W2RC in Salta, ousted Kevin Benavides (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) from fourth place in the championship. The Botswanan now has 45 points to 43 for the 2023 Dakar champion, who had to skip the race due to injury.

Monster Energy Honda took over from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in the manufacturers' ranking. Without Walkner at his side, Price was hopelessly outnumbered by the four factory HRCs. The Australian scooped up 9 points in Argentina. Brabec and VBA garnered 33 points for the brand with the wing logo. Luciano Benavides netted Husqvarna Factory Racing 25 points. Ross Branch scored 16 points for Hero MotoSports, whereas his teammate Sebastian Bühler went home empty-handed after retiring from the race. The reds now lead the overall with 128 points to the orange maker's 122. Husqvarna has 114 points. The Indian firm has 64. GasGas remained stuck at 39 following Sunderland's withdrawal.

In Rally2, Michael Docherty turned heads this week with consistent performances that placed him at the same level as the best RallyGP entrants, but a small mechanical in stage 2 knocked him out of contention for the DR40. However, when it is not one South African, it is the other, and it was his teammate Bradley Cox who stormed to victory. Alfie Cox's son claimed his first W2RC round victory. In the championship, the BAS World KTM Racing riders' failure to complete every round on the calendar has kept them away from the business end of their category. Romain Dumontier (Husqvarna HT Rally Raid) will be flying out of Argentina in the lead of the Rally2 championship. The Frenchman was just 3 points behind then-leader Paolo Lucci (BAS World KTM Racing) and capitalised on the Italian's withdrawal as a result of a crash to move into the lead with 79 points. Lucci is now second, still with 66 points. Jean-Loup Lepan (Duust Rally Raid) also defended his overall podium spot wile drawing closer to Lucci with 58 points.

In Rally 3, Ardit Kurtaj claimed the DR40 and snapped up 25 points. The Xraids Experience has already earned 20 points with second place in the Sonora Rally. He is on track to fulfil his ambition of winning the Rally3 FIM Rally-Raid World Cup. The Albanian-born rider has 45 points to Massimo Camurri's 25 and Mauricio Cueva's 20.

In the quad race, Manuel Andújar ran rings around his championship rivals —Rodolfo Guillioli and Juraj Varga— day in, day out, winning the first round of the season that he managed to complete. This lack of consistency means that he is nowhere to be found near the top of the championship, but the Argentinian 2021 Dakar champion has marked the finale in red on his calendar and could land another big haul there. In the meantime, Laisvydas Kancius retained the championship lead with 69 points to Guillioli's 43 and Pablo Copetti's 38.

The Road to Dakar Challenge rewards the top-ranked amateurs in the Rally2 and T4 categories in each W2RC round with free registration for the 2024 Dakar. Santiago Rostan and fellow Argentinians Juan José Semino and Gonzalo Oltra earned their tickets to Saudi Arabia in Salta. The first round of the 2024 FIA-FIM World Rally-Raid Championship unveiled its calendar yesterday. The Desafío Ruta 40 will again be part of the programme as the fourth race of the season, albeit from 2 to 8 June.

Coming soon in the W2RC - Rallye du Maroc from 12 to 18 October:
27 September: closing date for entries
11 and 12 October: administrative and technical scrutineering in Agadir
13 October: prologue in Agadir
14–18 October: 5 stages between Agadir and Merzouga


Source W2RC/ASO

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Good things come in threes for Al-Attiyah

  • The Desafío Ruta 40 YPF, the penultimate round of the season, came to an end in Salta yesterday.
  • Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) took the race for the first time in his career. The reigning world champion picked up his third win of the season, bringing his total to 189 points and padding his lead in the championship. Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing) finished third and defended his second place in the championship with 138 points, while his teammate Juan Cruz Yacopini came in second and rose to third in the championship with 109.
  • The Hilux dominance earned Toyota Gazoo Racing enough points to renew their manufacturers' world championship title.
  • Mitch Guthrie won the T3 race ahead of Cristina Gutiérrez (Red Bull Can-Am Factory) and Austin Jones. The three Red Bull Off-Road Jr Team USA drivers stayed on the provisional podium of the W2RC, where Guthrie Jr. took over the reins with 174 points to Jones's 171 and Seth Quintero's 167.
  • The battle-hardened Shinsuke Umeda (Xtreme Plus) completed the DR40 in T4. He is second in the W2RC.

30 points separated Nasser Al Attiyah and Yazeed Al Rajhi, first and second in the W2RC with 136 and 106 points, at the start in La Rioja. Fast-forward to a week later and their positions are the same, but the reigning world champion has widened the gap. It was the Qatari's third victory in a W2RC round this season, following the Dakar and the Sonora Rally. His closest rival pocketed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, but he had to settle for third in Salta. Al Attiyah now holds a 51-point margin going into the season finale in the Rallye du Maroc, with 189 points to Al Rajhi's 138. The 24-year-old Juan Cruz Yacopini (Overdrive Racing) was the runner-up in the DR40 and bagged enough points to bump Sébastien Loeb from the provisional W2RC podium, with 109 points to 101. Sebastián Halpern (X-raid Mini JCW) came up short in his title defence campaign after a broken transmission sabotaged his performance in stage 4. The Argentinian is now fifth overall with 90 points.

The Hilux 1-2-3 in round 4 of the championship means Toyota harvested constructor points from Al Attiyah in first place (25 points) and Yacopini (20) in second. Boasting 230 points after the DR40 to X-raid Mini JCW's 127, Toyota Gazoo Racing have mathematically secured a second consecutive manufacturers' world championship* before the finale.

Mathieu Baumel, who vied for the co-driver championship with Fabian Lurquin (BRX) and Timo Gottschalk (Overdrive Racing) when the race started in Argentina, is also safe from a last-minute surge by his rivals in Morocco. The latter two have missed a championship round each: the Dakar, in the case of Al Rajhi's co-driver, and the DR40, in the case of Loeb's navigator. These absences come with a hefty price tag when one faces the ever-consistent duo of Baumel and Al Attiyah. The Frenchman has 189 points to the German's 119, more than enough to ensure the 2022 co-driver champion will also defend his title.*

Mitch Guthrie won the T3 race ahead of Cristina Gutiérrez and Austin Jones. Seth Quintero (Red Bull Off-Road Jr Team USA), Mattias Ekström (South Racing Can-Am) and João Ferreira (X-raid Yamaha) all ran into mechanical trouble that put them out of the game while they were spicing up the show. The names of the Americans on the podium of the championship remain the same, but the order not so. Guthrie moved up from third before the start in La Rioja to the top spot, with 174 points. Jones, the leader after the first three rounds, is now second with 171. Quintero slipped from second, one point down on Jones, after Mexico to third now with 167. Seven points separate the three men. The T3 category remains the real nail-biter of the W2RC!

Shinsuke Umeda tamed the DR40 in T4 and pocketed 55 points for his troubles. Rokas Baciuška (Red Bull Can-Am Factory) will not be losing any sleep over this, as he is miles ahead in the ranking and mathematically assured of the T4 title* with 189 points.

Coming soon in the W2RC - Rallye du Maroc from 12 to 18 October:
27 September: closing date for entries
11 and 12 October: administrative and technical scrutineering in Agadir
13 October: prologue in Agadir
14–18 October: 5 stages between Agadir and Merzouga

Source W2RC/ASO

As a service to the sport we all love and follow, Rally-Raid Network posts numerous media releases from a wide variety of sources on our website. Due to the large number, and some times short time available, it is nearly impossible to review each public release. These articles are written by reporters or press officers who work for various organizers, teams, drivers, riders, and other parties, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rally-Raid Network.