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Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Luciano Benavides second fastest on Desafio Ruta 40 stage one

Desafio Ruta 40 - First stage

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has posted the second quickest time on stage one of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 rally. Riding his home event, the Argentinian completed the 333-kilometre timed special stage just 17 seconds down on the provisional leader.
Following on from his second place in the rally’s short opening prologue, where he completed the nine-kilometer special just one second from the win, Benavides carried his speed into stage one to finish as runner-up after over three hours of racing. In the overall classification, Luciano lies just one second off the lead of the event.
Benavides will now have the task of being one of the first to enter Tuesday’s stage two, which is promised to challenge riders with far more technical navigation than on today’s relatively straightforward WRC-style tracks. However, with days two, three, and four offering time bonuses for the first three riders to lead out each stage, the start position could fall in Luciano’s favour.

Luciano Benavides: “It’s been a really long stage actually. At the beginning, we started out through some riverbeds and then after that there was a lot of pistes, so it was very fast and very slippery. We destroyed the tyres today and thankfully it didn’t cost me as much time as some other riders. There wasn’t too much navigation today, so I just kept my head down and stayed safe. It all went well, I got second place, and now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

2023 Desafio Ruta 40 – Stage 1 Provisional Classification

1. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 3:00:12
2. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:00:29
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 3:01:45
4. Toby Price (KTM) 3:03:29
5. Ross Branch (Hero) 3:03:38
6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:06:52

2023 Desafio Ruta 40 – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 1]

1. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 3:55:00
2. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:55:01
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 3:56:09
4. Toby Price (KTM) 3:58:17
5. Ross Branch (Hero) 4:01:32
6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 4:02:32


Source Husqvarna Factory Racing
Photo: A.S.O/DPPI/J.Delfosse

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Al-Attiyah and Benavides on the right track

Desafio Ruta 40 - First stage

Key points:

The first stage of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF took the field on a loop south of La Rioja stretching for almost 700 km.
Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) claimed the car special with just under a minute in hand over Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing) and close to four minutes over Sebastián Halpern (X-raid Mini JCW). The Qatari seized the overall lead by 1′06″ over the Saudi and 4′19″ over the Argentinian.
Mitchell Guthrie (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA) got the better of "Chaleco" López (Red Bull Can-Am Factory) and Seth Quintero (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA) in the T3 race. In the overall, Guthrie Jr. has a buffer of 2′39″ over the Chilean and 3′23″ over his compatriot. Mattias Ekström (South Racing Can-Am) is just outside the podium at 4′12″.
The local hero Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing) took the win in the RallyGP category for pro riders in the W2RC, ahead of Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda). The Argentinian scaled to the top of the W2RC board, where he now leads VBA by 1′08″ and Price by 3′16″. The top three in the W2RC ranking are already at the business end of the race.
Michael Docherty (BAS World KTM Racing) cruised to victory in the Rally2 stage ahead of his teammate Bradley Cox and Konrad Dąbrowski (Duust Diverse Rally). Docherty also put clear daylight between himself and the rest of the field in the overall, with fellow South African Cox 5′22″ down and the Pole almost 10 minutes off the pace.
Tomorrow, the second of five stages will take the competitors to Belén, serving up a 121 km road section and a 340 km special.


Nasser Al Attiyah was a man with a plan: to start in fourth position, overtake the Overdrive Racing Hilux of Juan Cruz Yacopini and the Mini JCW of Sebastián Halpern and, perhaps, even catch up with Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing), who had chosen to lead the charge in the special. But the plan fell through. While the world champion crew did manage to leapfrog the Toyota in front of them, bad sensations with their rear suspension in the ríos near the start of the special prevented Al Attiyah from pushing as hard as he would have liked to. The Saudi, opening the road, went through one checkpoint after another with a lead of roughly one minute over the factory Hilux. However, at the second-last checkpoint, the tide turned: the Qatari was now about a minute better than Al Rajhi, who had had to ease up because of a slow puncture that he decided to fix during a later neutralisation. Al Attiyah crossed the finish line with 58 seconds in hand over his rival for the world championship. In the overall, Al Attiyah holds the lead in the Desafío Ruta 40 by 1′06″, counting the 8 seconds gained in the prologue. Sebastián Halpern, third, is still within striking distance of the two Hiluxes at 4′19″ down. The top 3 cars in the championship also make up the provisional podium following stage 1 of the DR40, but a clearer picture has yet to emerge. The four remaining stages will be decisive in the fight for the race and the championship.

In T3, Mitchell Guthrie (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA) romped to victory, leaving "Chaleco" López (Red Bull Can-Am Factory) and Seth Quintero (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA) in the dust. Two punctures ended up relegating the long-time leader of the special, Mattias Ekström (South Racing Can-Am), to fourth place. In the overall, Guthrie leads "Chaleco" by 2′54″, Quintero by 3′41″, Ekström by 4′16″ and Gutiérrez (Red Bull Can-Am Factory) by 5′05″.

benavides 29 8 w


As in the Sonora Rally, Tosha Schareina won the first stage today in the RallyGP category. The Spanish HRC protégé, who joined mid-season, is not yet part of the works team and was not registered for the W2RC at the start of the season, so he is not eligible for championship points. For the W2RC, it was Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing) who came out on top today after a race in which tyre management on the abrasive WRC-style tracks was one of the main challenges. The victor in yesterday's prologue, Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda), was hoping to match Benavides blow for blow and had specifically chosen to start behind him, but he finished just over a minute behind him. Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) played it safe and eased up after noticing that his rear tyre might not last the distance. He wrapped up the special three minutes down on Benavides. As of this evening, the three riders at the summit of the W2RC standings also top the W2RC board in the DR40. Everything is still up in the air on the road to Salta.

Michael Docherty (BAS World KTM Racing) built on a barnstorming performance in the first part of the special, in which he went toe to toe with the RallyGP riders, to claim the Rally2 stage by 5′06″ over his teammate Bradley Cox and 8′32″ over Konrad Dąbrowski (Duust Rally Team). Docherty took over the reins in the overall, with Cox 5′22″ down and Dąbrowski almost 10 minutes off the pace.


Stage 2 will set course for Catamarca Province with Belén as its destination. The special will get going on a salt pan (salar) before tackling the first sandy area of the race, a section with small dunes and vegetation including camel grass. Fesh-fesh will make its appearance in the first part of the special, before Andalgalá, which marks the border of Catamarca. The second part of the special will follow a wrecked old road before diving into the rock-strewn ríos of south-east Belén with their famous meanders. Navigation errors will be a dime a dozen here. This is where Adrien Van Beveren crashed in stage 10 of the 2018 Dakar. Time bonuses for the riders opening the road —applicable to stages 2, 3 and 4— will also be at stake for the first time.


Source W2RC / ASO

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Toby Price places fourth on opening stage

Desafio Ruta 40 - First stage

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has made a solid start to his 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 campaign, posting the fourth fastest time on stage one of the event. Matthias Walkner lost time after damaging his rear mousse and was forced to ease his pace in the second half of the special. The KTM 450 RALLY rider placed 28th.

The 2023 Desafio Ruta 40's opening stage began early at the La Rioja bivouac, with riders set for a long day ahead. Covering a total distance of nearly 700 kilometers, the stage included a 333-kilometer timed special. Gravel tracks made up much of the route with little in the way of navigation required. The stage still posed a sizeable challenge however, with the riders’ endurance and focus tested to the maximu

Sixth on the short opening prologue stage, Toby Price was the seventh rider to enter today’s special. Maintaining a smooth, solid pace throughout, the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship leader delivered a solid ride to ultimately post the fourth fastest time. With competitors earning bonus time for leading out on tomorrow’s stage two, Price will be eager to quickly catch and pass the three riders ahead of him to gain the absolute maximum advantage.

Toby Price:Stage one complete at the Desafio Ruta 40. I had a good feeling with the bike all day today, the only problem was the fact that most of the stage was raced on really fast, rocky tracks. With the Baja tire, it was all about managing that all day really. With around 80 kilometers to go, I could feel the mousse was getting soft, so I really had to back off and that cost me some time. It seems a few guys had some issues so it’s not ideal. Other than that, I’m happy with the day and there’s plenty more riding to go yet.”

Following a strong start to the stage this morning that saw Matthias Walkner lie fourth overall at kilometer 170, an issue with his rear mousse resulted in the rear tire slipping on the rim. Struggling with traction, Matthias limped to the finish, losing significant time over the last 100 kilometers. Despite the setback, Walkner will be looking to reset for tomorrow’s stage two and make the best use of his later start position to push hard over the stage.

Matthias Walkner: “Yeah, not the best day for me, it’s pretty frustrating. Honestly, I felt really good on the bike, and my pace was good over the first part of the stage. I did feel something early on and maybe I hit a rock and damaged the tire, but by around kilometer 150 I knew something was wrong and I really struggled from then on. Soon after that, my mousse was gone, and I had to complete the stage with just the tire on the rim. I was on the bike for 10 hours today and lost 50 minutes on the others, but I’m happy to get to the finish safely. It means there’s not much I can do for my overall result during the rest of the rally, but I’ll take it stage-by-stage and keep giving my best.”

Provisional Results – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40, Stage 1

1. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 3:00:12
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 3:00:29 +0:17
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:01:45 +1:33
4. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:03:29 +3:17
5. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:03:38 +3:26
Other KTM
28. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:45:31 +45:19

Provisional Standings – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 (after 1 of 5 stages)

1. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 3:55:00
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 3:55:01 +0:01
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:56:09 +1:09
4. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:58:17 +3:17
5. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:59:06 +4:06
Other KTM
23. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:40:11 +45:11

Source Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: FIA-FIM world rally-raid championships hit the road in Argentina

  • The 15 FIA crews and 24 FIM riders who are taking part in the W2RC in the fourth round of the championship were all cleared to start the eleventh edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF at the end of the morning after going through the administrative and technical scrutineering.
  • The show will get on the road with a 9 km prologue starting at 3 pm local time. This evening, the ten fastest FIA and FIM competitors in this selective section will get to choose their starting order for the first stage.
  • The W2RC entrants, international competitors and locals cleared to take the start make up a 95-strong field. They are all itching to explore Argentina again following a five-year hiatus from this rally!


The capital of La Rioja, the first of the three provinces to host the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF, is slowly bringing back the buzz and fun of the Dakar in Latin America. Nasser Al Attiyah, the reigning world champion and current leader of the FIA championship, remains every bit as popular as he was in the second chapter of the Dakar nearly a decade ago, when he clinched three victories on the continent (2011, 2015 and 2019). Despite five years without DR40 or the Dakar in Argentina, the driver who went on to become a five-time winner of the Dakar has managed to keep his fans. 80% of them are still on the continent (see his quote)… including one who offered to fly the Qatari and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel to the bivouac in the Estadio Superdomo by helicopter the day before yesterday! A great way for the Toyota Gazoo Racing factory competitors to warm up their audience, who have been stopping them around the town and at the bivouac ever since they arrived to take pictures with them. What better way to thrill Nasser Al Attiyah than to give them a show by announcing his daring bet of winning the championship before the final, right here in Argentina? That is one of the challenges that he has set himself after winning two rounds of the championship (Dakar and Sonora Rally), not least because Sébastien Loeb and his BRX team are sitting out this leg. Yazeed Al Rajhi is nipping at his heels, 30 points adrift in the standings. To be crowned in Salta, Al Attiyah will have to pocket at least 25 points more than the Saudi to increase his lead to 55 points after four rounds. In this scenario, even if Al Rajhi managed to win the final event and its five stages in October, the current leader of the championship could go wild in the Rallye du Maroc. In fact, even a blank slate would give him a tie in points, with the edge going to the Qatari because he has won more rounds. More than enough to make the crowd want to come and cheer on the reigning world champion! For now, one thing is certain: the four Hiluxes entered in the championship by Toyota Gazoo Racing and Overdrive Racing enjoy numerical superiority over the Mini T1+ X-raid JCW of the Argentinian title holder Sebastián Halpern (2016 and 2018) and his co-driver Ronnie Graue, another two-time winner (2015 and 2017). In T3, the seven vehicles entered in W2RC by South Racing are also evenly matched with the X-raid Yamaha Supported Team driven by João Ferreira and the Can-Am by BBR driven by Claude Fournier. In T4, Shinsuke Umeda's Polaris Xtreme Plus is the only vehicle not facing the combined might of an armada.


The W2RC riders first came together two days ago on the private test track that gives the riders a chance to fine-tune their machines before the prologue on a dedicated course located at a similar altitude to the start of the race. You could feel the pure thrill of the RallyGP pros to be back in Argentina. Most of the ten factory riders on the grid tasted the Dakar on South American soil, and the majority belong to that generation. Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), the leader of the championship, won his two Dakars on the continent (2016 and 2019), while Sam Sunderland (Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing), the reigning world champion, landed his first Dakar win in Buenos Aires in 2017. Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) etched his name in 2018 during the last stop of the race in Argentina. Kevin Benavides (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), the two-time Argentinian winner of the Dakar in Saudi Arabia (2021 and 2023), dreamed of going back to his winning ways on home turf but, for the second time this season, he hurt himself in a crash shortly before a championship round. Back in early August, when a press conference was held in Salta to present the eleventh edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF, the older Benavides broke down when he mentioned that he would miss out on "his" race. The two-time winner (2016 and 2017) and title holder headed to the private test to lend a hand to the Austrian teams with his remaining good arm. There was no way he was just going to watch the race on TV. The Albiceleste will spend the entire week in the DR40 as his brother's biggest fan. Rumours abound under the KTM tent that the Benavides family has already planned to celebrate the Dakar title conquered by Kevin last January with them as soon as the race finishes in Salta. When you know how wild it got in the home town of the first South American rider to win the Dakar when he returned home in 2021, there is no doubt about how epic it will be for Austrian crews and how it will light up the W2RC caravan. And if Luciano Benavides, currently second in the championship, were to nab his first win in the race, it would be even more awesome! However, the Honda clan will do their best to hang on to the title won by the late Paulo Gonçalves in the last edition, back in 2018. The Chileans Pablo Quintanilla and Nacho Cornejo feel pretty much at home, while Adrien Van Beveren has had a special connection with the Argentinian crowds since 2011, way before his Dakar debut here in 2016 and a spill in 2018 that knocked him out of race while he was topping the leader board. The Frenchman is hell-bent on soaring back to the summit of the standings in stage 2 from La Rioja to Belén, which will take place in a few days (see his quote).

Back on the road to cherish old W2RC memories and make new ones!


ruta 40 27 8 w


Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing — 1st in the FIA driver standings with 136 points): "It's my first time here at the Ruta 40, but not my first time in La Rioja. We came here several times with the Dakar. I'm mostly stoked to see the Argentinian public again because, aside from my Dakar victories in Argentina [2011 and 2015], 80% of the people who follow me on social media are from South America and we have a lot of supporters here who haven't forgotten us. It also gives local racers a shot at a round of the world championship. We're going to try and win, but we're also going to keep in mind the championship, which would be really nice to clinch as early as this round so we can go all-out in Morocco. For that, we need to leave Salta with at least 25 points more than Yazeed Al Rajhi, who trails me by 30 points right now. There are 55 points up for grabs in Morocco: 30 for the overall plus 25 for five stage wins."

Mathieu Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing — 1st in the FIA co-driver standings with 136 points): "I started with Nasser in 2015, so I wasn't with him for his first Dakar victory in 2011, but it's still a fond memory because we started our Dakar partnership on a high note by winning it. We don't know the Ruta 40, but we've already been through these places. It feels great to be back in Argentina. We might even secure the title here. It's going to be tricky, but it's possible, at least on paper. That's our goal. It's not a must for us, but it would be awesome."

Yazeed Al Rajhi (Toyota Overdrive — 2nd in the FIA co-driver standings with 106 points): "The first race I entered as a driver was in Argentina, back in the 2008 WRC. It was also the starting point of my rally-raid career. I made my debut there at the wheel of a Toyota Hilux in the 2015 Dakar. It's a great memory, although my engine gave up the ghost with two days to go, when I had been sitting in third overall for most of the race. It was also the year I took my first Dakar stage win. My last experience in Argentina dates back to the 2018 Dakar, where I drove an X-raid Mini. I'm really excited to come back here and I can say that I'm clued up on this terrain, on which I raced four consecutive editions of the Dakar driving two different cars."

Ronnie Graue (X-raid Mini JCW — 4th in the FIA co-driver standings with 74 points): "I got to participate in every Dakar held in Latin America from 2010 onwards. My first experience in the Ruta 40 goes back to 2012 in an SSV in which I finished second. I then entered and won the race twice as a co-driver with Orly Terranova in the X-raid Mini, in 2015 and 2017. The track, the crew, the crowd who rooted for us everywhere we hit, it was epic."

Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing — 1st in the FIM standings with 62 points): "This is where I nailed my first Dakar in Buenos Aires in 2016 before bagging the second one in Peru in 2019. It's good to be back in Argentina. Last time, the 2018 Dakar, went pretty well [third overall]. I think I've already done the Ruta 40, but to be honest, I'm not entirely sure, it all gets a bit blurry with the Dakar years [Price finished second overall in 2018, six seconds behind the defending champion, Paulo Gonçalves]."

Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing — 2nd in the FIM standings with 55 points): "I've done the Ruta 40 twice. In 2017, it was my first rally raid, even though it only lasted a day because I broke my collarbone. The second time was in 2018, for the last edition, where came in sixth. But today I have more pace, experience and confidence and I'm battling for the world championship, it's a completely different story. I've never raced in La Rioja before, but the further north we go, the closer we'll be to my home. I'm stoked to be here and I’ll give it my all for Argentina."

Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda — 3rd in the FIM standings with 53 points): "I started coming to Argentina in 2011 to ride in the Enduro del Verano. I hadn't even turned twenty at the time. I won that race in 2013 and again in 2015. That race made me discover Argentina. I love this country. I feel good here. I've often thought that I'll come and live here someday. For now, I'm cool in Andorra. They also speak Spanish and there are loads of Argentinians. Besides, my girlfriend is Argentinian. I did my first Dakar here in 2016 [sixth overall], then we came back in 2017 [fourth overall] and 2018, when I suffered a crash I won't be forgetting any time soon because my dream seemed within reach. By the way, I know we'll be racing really close to the place where I hit the ground in the 2018 Dakar. I already took part in the Desafío Ruta 40 in 2017, nominally, at least. An electronic problem sent me home after a single stage. I know that the navigation is devilish here. The pace is going to be sky-high again, the championship is really close, there are two races to go and Toby Price, Luciano Benavides and yours truly are very evenly matched. It's all up in the air. I'm sure we'll all be thinking of that."

Manuel Andújar (7240 Team – back in the W2RC after withdrawing from round 1): "I've only participated in the Ruta 40 once, back in 2018, when I also made my Dakar debut. I cooked the engine on the third day, but I also grabbed my first rally-raid stage here, so I'll always remember the Ruta 40 for this. Our team is also fielding Juraj Varga and our plan is to help him to score points to fight for the championship. I'm also going to focus on my own race and try to win it before heading to the finale in Morocco.".


ruta 40 27 8 w 2

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


Desafio Ruta 40 2023: A short rehearsal to get everything ready

The start of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF is imminent. With the competition scheduled to take place from 26 August to 1 September, as the fourth round of the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) in the provinces of La Rioja, Belén and Salta, the teams had the opportunity to carry out private tests in advance.
Son los momentos finales de preparación para el emocionante comienzo de esta emblemática competencia. Este viernes, desde temprano, los pilotos y equipos aprovecharon la oportunidad para realizar un último test y asegurarse de que sus máquinas estén listas para enfrentar los desafíos que les esperan.
These are the final moments for getting ready for the exciting start of this iconic competition. Early this Friday, drivers, riders, and teams had the opportunity for a final test to make sure their machines are ready to face the challenges ahead.

Nasser: “We got here as Championship leaders and we hope we can win this race”.

On Friday, one of the stars of the W2RC and the championship leader in the car category, Nasser Al Attiyah was «very happy to be back in Argentina, and to come to the DR40 for the first time» and he made clear his intentions of sealing his title in this same competition: «We hope to do a good job, we got here as championship leaders and we hope we can win this race».
We have a lot of experience on the roads in Argentina, Desafío Ruta 40 is new for us, but we know La Rioja, Salta as well, and we know it won’t be easy, but we will try to do our best», Qatar driver, winner of the last edition of the Dakar Rally, said.

The official activity of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF starts tomorrow.

This Saturday, the Administrative Verifications and Scrutineering will take place at Superdomo. From 9 a.m. onwards, the teams will gather for verifications, a crucial step in the pre-competition process. This will be the time when the teams will complete all the necessary tasks to ensure that their machines comply with the regulations and are ready to face the challenges of the race.
The fans will also have the first opportunity to see the teams, as rally fans will be able to visit the bivouac from 12pm until 7pm, with free admission.

Key weekend schedule for the fans.
Saturday 26 August:
Bivouac (Superdomo): 12.00pm to 07.00pm

Sunday 27 August:
Bivouac (Superdomo): 12.00pm to 07.00pm
Prologue (Dique Los Sauces): 03:00 pm (The public can get to the place up to 01.00 pm)
Aerobatics Show (Superdomo): 06:00 pm
Freestyle Show with Aykol and Jaff (Superdomo): 06:20 pm
Choosing the starting order (Superdomo): 06:30 pm
Starting Ceremony (Superdomo): 07:30 pm


Photos: RallyZone / ShakedownTeam

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.