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Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Stage four victory for Luciano Benavides at Desafio Ruta 40

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has taken the win on day four of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina. Following his three successive second-place finishes, the FR 450 Rally rider excelled through the dunes in the second half of the special to claim his first stage victory and reduce the deficit to the provisional rally leader.

Thursday marked another long day in the saddle for all riders at the Desafio Ruta 40. Stage four, the penultimate of the event, included a long 345-kilometre timed special that was effectively split into two halves by a long transfer section. The second half of the special saw riders navigate their way through the infamous Fiambala dunes before reaching the finish.

Enjoying the terrain, Benavides put in another strong ride throughout the special, making the minimum of mistakes early on and then excelling when the action hit the dunes. Times were tight among the front runners with less than five minutes separating the top six after close to three hours of racing. However his overall pace and the time bonuses he accumulated by leading out the stage secured Luciano his first stage win of the event.

With one day left to race at the Desafio Ruta 40, Benavides trails the provisional leader by just less than six minutes. And with tomorrow’s 258-kilometre special still to go, the Argentine will undoubtedly be going all out for the win.

Luciano Benavides: “Finally, I have got a stage win at my home race – the most important one at Fiambala. Honestly, at the beginning this morning I was taking things a little steady because I didn’t feel so confident. But then after the neutralisation, I saw the dunes and decided to push. It was really good – I was able to catch Tosha (Schareina) ahead of me and then opened for a few kilometres. I really gave my all today, and so towards the end of the special I started to get tired, and I think because of that, I made a small mistake that maybe cost me two minutes. But I was still able to take the win and it feels great. Tomorrow is the final stage and I get to open on the way to Salta, which was always my plan and will feel great in front of my home fans. Hopefully, I can deliver another good result and a strong finish to the rally.”

Desafio Ruta 40 - Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:53:57
2. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 2:54:33
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 2:55:43
4. Michael Docherty (KTM) 2:57:17
5. Toby Price (KTM) 2:58:37
6. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 2:58:562023

2023 Desafio Ruta 40 – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
1. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 13:15:26
2. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 13:21:13
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 13:38:39
4. Ross Branch (Hero) 13:44:49
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 13:47:54
6. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 13:53:19


Source Husqvarna Factory Racing

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: The front-runners pad their lead

The third stage of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF followed a 460 km loop around Belén.
The duel between Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) and Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing) heated up again in the car category, with the pendulum swinging in the world champion's favour by 1′41″. What is more, the Toyota factory driver also put over 10 minutes into Yacopini (Overdrive Racing), greatly diminishing the threat posed by the Argentinian. The gap between the Qatari and the Albiceleste in the general standings exploded from 17″ to 10′28″. Al Rajhi clung on to third place, now 18′12″ down.
In T3, Mattias Ekström (South Racing Can-Am) was ready to rock and roll again, but he had to bail out of the stage due to a mechanical hiccup. Mitchell Guthrie (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA) bagged another victory, this time ahead of his teammate Austin Jones and João Ferreira (X-raid Yamaha). Guthrie stretched his overall lead over his sidekick Seth Quintero to 7′27″.
Among the RallyGP motorbikes competing in the W2RC, Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing) took his second consecutive win over Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda). Benavides now leads the W2RC standings ahead of the American, who in turn is just 4 seconds clear of Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports). Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda) fell off the provisional podium. Sam Sunderland (Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing) withdrew from the race.
Michael Docherty (BAS World KTM Racing) scooped up victory in the Rally2 stage by 1′25″ over his teammate Bradley Cox. In the general standings, Cox defended his lead over the Duust riders Konrad Dąbrowski and Jean-Loup Lepan. The world championship leader, Paolo Lucci, did not line up for the start this morning after crashing in the previous special.


After the puncture-marred stage 2, regular service resumed with Nasser Al Attiyah and Yazeed Al Rajhi scrapping for seconds throughout the stage. It was the Qatari who came out on top today by 1′41″ over the Saudi. Outdone yesterday by the local Juan Cruz Yacopini, the world champion, who held a measly 17-second margin over the driver from Mendoza in the overall, got some breathing space. The Argentinian clung on to second place in the ranking, where he now trails the leader by 10′28″. Al Rajhi, still in third place, also closed in on the Albiceleste, but he now lags behind Al Attiyah by 18′12″. Sebastián Halpern threw in the towel after succumbing to transmission issues. The withdrawal of the Mini of the two-time DR40 winner is likely to have two consequences at the finish in Salta. First, a new name will be added to the car honour roll. And second, Toyota will probably widen its gap in the manufacturers' championship and perhaps even pop some champagne for its second title in Salta, before the finale.

Mattias Ekström suffered the same fate as Halpern, but in T3. A busted front differential bearing knocked the Swede out of the special, clearing the way for Mitchell Guthrie to take his second stage win. Austin Jones finished 1′58″ behind his teammate, a mere 4″ ahead of João Ferreira. Guthrie increased his overall lead to 5′54″ over his wingman, Seth Quintero, and 17′39″ over Cristina Gutiérrez (Red Bull Can-Am Factory).

In T4, Shinsuke Umeda (Xtreme Plus) flew over from Japan to rake in some precious championship points. He is still in the game and hopes to make it to Salta to narrow as much as possible his deficit to the leader of the championship, Rokas Baciuška (Red Bull Can-Am Factory).


While Tosha Schareina (Honda) took his third win in a row, he is not eligible for W2RC points, so it was Luciano Benavides, Ricky Brabec, Ross Branch and Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) who put on a show in the W2RC. Benavides pushed his overall lead to 15′40″ over Brabec, who feels the heat from Branch just 4 seconds behind him. Adrien Van Beveren is 17′39″ down on Benavides after the American and the Botswanan dislodged him from the podium. Sam Sunderland was in pain when he exited the bivouac this morning. The reigning world champion decided to withdraw more than a hundred kilometres into the stage, feeling physically unable to ride safely. As per the rules, the GasGas no. 1 will not continue the race tomorrow. Coming after the exit of the KTM factory rider Walkner yesterday, it was another crushing blow for the Austrian teams, now reduced to just two riders in contention: Price, who is over an hour behind the race leader due to a mechanical, and Luciano Benavides, Mattighofen's last hope of snatching the win in the DR40. This is in stark contrast with Honda, which still has all its riders in the game ahead of stage 4, boosting its prospects for victory in the race and in the manufacturers' championship. Two Honda works riders will be able to earn points, whereas only Toby Price, who is stuck in the doldrums, can score for the oranges, who currently top the manufacturer ranking.

Michael Docherty scooped up victory in the Rally2 stage by 1′25″ over his teammate Bradley Cox. In the general standings, Cox now leads the Duust riders Konrad Dąbrowski and Jean-Loup Lepan by 24′12″ and 31′53″, respectively. Romain Dumontier (HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing) is fourth overall, within a minute of his countryman. Paolo Lucci (BAS World KTM Racing) did not show up for the start this morning after sustaining a nasty crash yesterday. The world championship front-runner leaves the door wide open for Dumontier, who trails him by only 3 points.

Manuel Andújar remained in control of the W2RC quad competition in the DR40. Juraj Varga stopped on the track for a mechanical problem and lost over an hour and a half to Rodolfo Guillioli today. The Guatemalan cut his overall deficit to the Slovak to 16 minutes.


Stage 4 features the dunes of Fiambalá. The start will take place in a dried-up río with a lot of twists and turns to watch out for. A sector with off-road navigation in a sandy area with camel grass will come up next. All this will sap the strength of the competitors before they even get to the second part of the special, centred on the famous dunes of Fiambalá, which make up 60 to 70% of the latter half of the course. The dunes will be interspersed with plateaus decked with camel grass. A long road section stretching for about two and a half hours will bring down the curtain on yet another taxing stage.

Source W2RC / ASO
Photo: A.S.O/DPPI/J.Delfosse

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Ricky Brabec fights back

Desafio Ruta 40 - Stage 2

Dakar winner Ricky Brabec was the fastest Monster Energy Honda Team rider on the third day and the second stage from the Desafio Ruta YPF in Argentina. The american finished the 265 km of Special Stage between the cities of La Rioja and Belén in third place, 7’39 seconds behind another Honda CRF 450 Rally – the one from Tosha Schareina, who remains in the leadership of the race. José Ignacio Cornejo was 5th today and was followed by teammates Adrien Van Beveren (6th) and Pablo Quintanilla (8th).

The first part of today’s stage was really fast with gravel tracks and then navigation was more important in the second part with demanding terrains: chott, fesh-fesh, dunes and sand. It was a truly argentinian classic, demanding a lot from riders and machines, testing their shape and reliability.

In the overall standings, Van Beveren remains in third place (13’20 gap), Brabec goes up to the 5th place, Quintanilla keeps the 6th place and Cornejo jumps one position to 7’th place.

Tomorrow the race will repeat the circuit scheme with start and arrival in Belén. There will be 197 km of liaison and 265 km of Special Stage. This third stage will mix once again gravel, sand tracks and dunes.

Ruben Faria General Manager: “This was a hard day for the team and things went well. We expected navigation to be more demanding, but it was not so much. Tomorrow we are waiting for a more challenging stage where navigation can play a central role. Ricky lost time yesterday and recovered some positions today. Adrien lost some time today due to a navigation mistake but he is still fighting for the lead. Nacho was going fast but faced some technical issues at the end of the stage. Pablo was second at the beginning of the stage but then did not feel so comfortable at the end of the stage.”

Ricky Brabec 2: “Stage 2 was good, so with three days left we will see what we can do. After this third place I will be risking everything I have. I know I’m just further off the overall classification now, so I’m not quite sure what to do at this point. One thing is sure, the next few days we will be just riding around.”

José Ignacio Cornejo 11: “This was a good stage for me, I was feeling really competitive, very comfortable with the bike. Then in the last part of the stage I had to slow a little bit because of the rear of the bike. Safety always comes first so I had to make sure I reached the end of the special section. The outcome was not bad, so I’m determined to continue to fight and do my best.”

Adrien Van Beveren 42: “This was a hard day, I tried to save the tires at the beginning. The rhythm was not high for that reason, then luckily there was sand and I continued to push. I made a mistake, confused a note from the road-book and went really bad for five or six kilometers. Then I came back and pushed on the dunes. Overall it is not so bad, I have a good position to push tomorrow. ”

Pablo Quintanilla 7: “Well this was not a good day since I was quite limited with a mechanical problem. I had to slow down along the stage, so now we just want to find what is going on and fix it. Tomorrow we will start again to return to the race rhythm and try to climb in the overall standings.”


Source Monster Energy Honda Team
Photo: A.S.O/DPPI/J.Delfosse

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Welcome to Desafío Ruta 40 YPF where anything may happen

Desafio Ruta 40 - Stage 2

Desafío Ruta 40 YPF, valid for the fourth round of the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC), has arrived in Belén and the difficulty of the terrain is already evident.

Stage 2 between La Rioja and Belén (340km of special stage) was remarkably shorter than the first stage, but much more complex, both in terms of finding the right direction and taking care of the machines. The stage started with a road that went into a very fast salt flat, but with many trails, to then give way to the first low dunes with vegetation, to finally go through a very broken track to finish -already in the second section- along the famous dry rivers of Belén. Of course, not many kilometres after the start, this section claimed the first victims of the competition.

Yacopini surprises in the car category and Schareina consolidates his position in the bike category

Juan Cruz Yacopini-Daniel Oliveras (Overdrive Racing) won the very tough stage. The driver from Mendoza stayed clear of any problems and made his way through the stage to beat all the cars, including Nasser Al Attiyah-Matthieu Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing) by 10’42. This is the first stage victory in a W2RC race for the Argentinean competitor. The Qatari driver had several problems with his Toyota GR DKR Hilux, but stays in the lead in the DR40 Overall standings.

In the motorbike category, no one was able to beat yesterday’s winner, Tosha Schereina (Honda Team), who, despite opening the track, managed to stay ahead and after Stage 2 continues dominating the Overall standings with a 2:22 lead over Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing). The Argentinean also had a good deal as he could keep the lead while Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) suffered with his bike.

In the quad category, Francisco Moreno (Yamaha) won the stage head-to-head with Manuel Andujar, but the winner of the 2020 Dakar Rally still leads the overall standings by 8:49.

In T3, Mitchell Guthrie and Kellon Walch (Red Bull Off Road Junior Team) had a great day. Not only did they dominate in T3, but their time placed them as the second fastest of the day in cars, behind Yacopini.

The story of the day: Price and Walkner

It was not an easy day for W2RC RallyGP leader Toby Price, who stopped at km 157 of the stage due to a suspension problem on his bike. Although he lost 15 minutes, the Australian was able to get back on track thanks to the help of his teammate Matthias Walkner, who lent him his shock absorber. However, the Austrian has now withdrawn from the race, because according to the FIM regulations, he will not be able to ride again tomorrow.

Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing): «Tosha did very well, he really opened the road very fast, it was incredible, and I think he made no mistakes. I felt good; in some parts, I was just a little bit nervous because the bike was moving a little bit, but then I was fine. We are in battle and that’s the important thing. There was a part in the dunes with camel grass and it was difficult to get the bike in high gear. There were a lot of holes, so it was very easy to make a mistake and fall, but you also have to think about the championship and not just fight for a stage, so I tried to be as smart as possible and I think it went well. I didn’t know anything about Toby (he had suspension problems on his bike), but the rally is like that, things always happen, it’s very long, it’s very physical, you have to navigate well, and be smart. There are a lot of things, a lot of factors that can appear in the desert and today was a crazy stage, it was the same or worse than the Dakar».

Francisco Moreno (Quads): «I’m happy to have arrived, it was a very long and very hard stage. There were some very important dunes that put a lot of physical strain on me. Being at the finish line is the important thing, so we are happy. I did my job, which was to run a clean race and try to make up time from yesterday».

Juan Cruz Yacopini (Overdrive Racing): «I am very happy to win my first stage of the world championship in Argentina. We had been working hard and we knew that it was coming. We got a lot of fesh fesh, and at the end a lot of very broken camel grass, but I like that, so we had a good time and pushed as hard as we could. At the end, there was a dune and a beautiful river to drive. We were very focused because we knew that we could overtake several riders and quads and when we caught up with Nasser we were happy because it’s not easy to do that. Today we went out to do the best we could and we found ourselves winning the stage, tomorrow we will do the same because we know that this is a very long race.

Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing): «It was a good race. We were careful from the start with all the fesh fesh. Then in the second part we tried to push, and suddenly we broke the rear suspension and had two punctures together, front and rear, and we fixed them. And then we started and we had another puncture. Today we had five punctures. But we are here, quite happy and we will see. We were very fast in the last part, on the camel grass. Yacopini overtook us in the last 10 km, but there was no point in pushing because we had a flat tyre the whole way and we didn’t have an extra one to fix it».

Desafío Ansenuza is in the thrill of DR40

Desafío Ansenuza accompanies the 11th edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF on the roads of La Rioja, Catamarca, and Salta.

For Ansenuza competitors, the excitement of sharing the field with the great drivers of the W2RC is at its peak. Such is the case of Gerardo Muttigliengo, who let that emotion come out: «For me, being in this Desafío Ruta 40 with the best in the world is a dream come true. We are VIP spectators. I walk around the bivouac and I’m constantly in tears». «You realize where you are little by little. When I was at my administrative checks I was next to Luciano Benavides and sharing that moment was very special», the rider from Córdoba said. He also made clear his main objective, which is to complete the race, and he also knows that, perhaps, he can finish, but one of the professional riders won’t be able to do so.

Stage 3: Belén-Belén: Tomorrow, another day of navigation and high dunes

The third stage of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF will be a high-altitude duel. And not only because of the great battle we will experience on the roads but also because after a very fast cross-country start, the 268 km special stage will take the riders to an area 2,600 metres above sea level, precisely when it enters an area of soft dunes with low vegetation that will demand a lot from the riders and also from the machines.

The stage, which will take place in the north of Belén in the area of Pie de Médano, then enters a sector of dry rivers with very deteriorated trails. It is going to be a truly demanding race where anything can happen.

Spectator Zone Stage 3 Belen-Belen

The fans who want to enjoy the race from the side of the road will be able to do so from the Spectator Zones. It is possible to download these maps from www.desafioruta40.ar/zona-espectadores/

Fans can also visit the Belén bivouac located at Centro Recreativo FAMAYFIL (Av. Virgen de Belén and Pacífico Arques, Belén), in the province of Catamarca.



Source: Desafio Ruta 40 YPF
Photo: A.S.O/DPPI/J.Delfosse

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: The longest day is over

Desafio Ruta 40 - First stage

It was the first and at the same time the longest day from the Desafio Ruta 40 YPF. Today riders had to leave the bivouac before the sun rise in order to reach the start of stage 1, completing a circuit of around 700 km with start and arrival in La Rioja. The fourth stop of the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) brought the off-road action back to the heart of Argentina. After the warm-up from yesterday, the intensity was extreme with 334 km of Special Stage composed mainly of hard gravel.

The stage winner was spaniard Tosha Schareina, a young gun that is also riding an Honda CRF 450 CRF – he finished with 17 seconds over Luciano Benavides and 1’33’’ over Adrien Van Beveren. The frenchman had the best performance from the Monster Energy Honda Team, followed by Nacho Cornejo who was 6’06’’ slower than the leader. Pablo Quintanilla finished in position 8 while Ricky Brabec finished the stage in 9 th place. For different reasons, these two last riders received a 6 minute penalty.

In the overall standings, Van Beveren stands in third place (1’09 gap), Quintanilla in 6th place (7’32 gap), Cornejo in position 8 and Brabec is now ranked in 9th place.

Tomorrow the race will leave the province of La Rioja in the direction of Belén. There will be 197 km of liaison and 265 km of Special Stage. This second stage will start with gravel track, followed by a great mix of more demanding terrains: chott, fesh-fesh, dunes and sand.

Ruben Faria - General Manager: “Our riders did a good performance today, starting with Nacho who had the hard task to open the stage. Pablo was fast but got a 6 minute penalty due to the speed limit in the liaison. Adrien also did well, but had to slow down in the end of the stage due to problems in the rear tyre - the same thing happened to Ricky and he had to work on the bike and reached the final control too late. Tomorrow we will have a hard stage with a lot of navigation, that’s for sure a great opportunity for us to climb in the overall standings. ”

Adrien Van Beveren 42: “Stage 1 was a good day for me, a little bit difficult to warm-up in the beginning in the river beds with shadows and the sun but it was the same for everybody. I enjoyed the tracks, it was fast but then unfortunately I had an issue with my bib mousse and I had to slow down in the last 20 km. Luckily I could make it until the end and that was on the limit. ”

Pablo Quintanilla 7: “The first day from the Desafio Ruta 40 is over and what a day it was! The first part of the special stage was fast and then we had a main track, more rally car style very sinuous and slippery. I’m happy because I got a good position for tomorrow. We will ride into the open desert so it’s important to keep the focus and to be calm.

José Ignacio Cornejo 11: “Today I had to open the stage and that is never an easy job to do and I think I did it well. Of course it is normal to lose some minutes when you open the way. I also made a few little mistakes, but nothing really big. So overall it was a good day, I felt good on my Honda CRF 450 Rally and that's what matters. ”

Ricky Brabec 2: “Today was good until it wasn’t and this is how rally works many times. Now we have four more days to compete and fight for the best possible outcome and this works individually but also thinking about Honda defending its manufacturer world title”.


Source: Monster Energy Honda Team
Photo: A.S.O/DPPI/J.Delfosse

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