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Desafio Ruta 40:Sam Sunderland set to race the Desafio Ruta 40

  • Five-stage event covers close to 3,000km
  • Daniel Sanders remains sidelined due to injury

He’s back and fired up to impress! Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland is all set to take on the Desafio Ruta 40. After sadly crashing out of the Sonora Rally back in April, Sam arrives in Argentina fighting fit and focused on securing a strong result at the ultra-challenging event.

It’s been quite a break for the riders of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, with round three, the Sonora Rally, finishing just less than four months ago. With Sam crashing out of that race on day two, the downtime gave the Brit plenty of time to get checked out and recover.

Keen to get his 2024 season back on track, Sunderland now faces the five-stage, 2,804-kilometer Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina. Known for its tough terrain and often even tougher navigation, the race will challenge riders with a short prologue on Sunday, August 27 to decide the start order for the first of five long stages raced against the clock.

The event starts in La Rioja and works its way north, through Belen in the Catamarca region, and into Salta for the finish on Friday, September 1. In total, Sam and his rivals will be on the gas for 1,555 kilometers of timed special stage.

Thankfully, Sam escaped his crash at the Sonora Rally without serious injury. Now, looking to ramp things up again ahead of the Dakar Rally early in 2024, the RX 450F racer will be aiming to use the Desafio Ruta 40 to build his speed and confidence, as well as securing a good, solid finish.

Daniel Sanders, who injured his right leg whilst training, is currently in the Red Bull Athlete Performance Center in Austria to work on his recovery. We look forward to seeing the Aussie back on the bike as soon as possible.

Sam Sunderland: “Sonora was a bit of a scary one and also marked strike three for me this season in terms of finishing an event. It’s all been a bit frustrating. I went back to London and had some checks on my knee which I was super worried about, luckily it was only a broken kneecap, and all the ligaments were okay. I got off lightly for the type of crash it was. We’ve had two good tests in the US since then so that’s helped my confidence. I got my feeling back and the freedom I like to ride with. For sure, the main goal here in Argentina has to be to finish, since I haven’t done so well in the first three races. But I’m here to race after all, I didn’t come to just explore the desert! I won my first Dakar here back when it was in Argentina, so flying into Buenos Aires, all the memories of that win came back. Definitely going to be a tough race, but I’m feeling good and looking forward to it.”

Source: Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Countdown to Ruta 40 2023

The countdown to the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF is coming to an end. From August 26 to September 1, the excitement of the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) will take over the north of Argentina, in the provinces of La Rioja, Catamarca and Salta.

La Rioja will have a weekend of pure celebration

Teams and drivers are already in La Rioja establishing themselves step by step in the bivouac, marking the beginning of an exciting adventure. La Rioja will witness a weekend full of celebration and excitement, as the competition promises to be a unique spectacle for both competitors and the fans.

The bivouac, located in the Superdomo of the city of La Rioja, will become the main point of camaraderie, excitement and passion, where everyone will be able to share their love for rally-raid. From Saturday, the public will be able to visit it -with free admission- from 12 to 19hs.

Of course, Sunday will be another great day for fans of this sport. At 3 pm the Prologue will take place, a prelude to the competition in which the public will be able to enjoy the first kilometers of speed exclusively inside the Spectator Zones (to be published 24 hours in advance). Afterwards, the action will move again to the Superdome. Starting at 6pm, Jorge Malatini will delight everyone present with aerial acrobatics and then give way to a sensational freestyle show with Aykol and Jaff. All this before the most awaited moment: the passage of the 115 registered competitors (99 W2RC/OPEN and 16 Desafío Ansenuza) in this Desafío Ruta 40 YPF through the ceremony.

Rally Guide: All the information in one place

This essential tool provides the most detailed information on schedules, stages, bivouacs as well as all the key and essential data about the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF. Available for download on the race website www.desafioruta40.ar and on Sportity.

Sportity: The app that revolutionizes rally-raid

The innovative app that will be used for the first time at the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF will keep riders, teams, media and fans informed about sporting news in real time. The Desafío Ruta 40 YPF will have five channels available: RUTA40FIM, RUTA40FIA, DR40OPENMOTO, DR40OPENAUTO and DR40ANSENUZA.

For more information, visit: www.desafioruta40.ar/sportity-sp


Source: Desafio Ruta 40

Desafio Ruta 40: Luciano Benavides prepares for home race at the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40

Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides is excited to return to FIM World Rally-Raid Championship action at his home race, the Desafio Ruta 40 – the fourth and penultimate round of the 2023 series. Following a long, four-month break since the last event, Benavides will be looking to maintain the momentum that has carried him to podium finishes at the two previous rounds.

Currently lying second in the world championship standings, just seven points behind the leader, Benavides has enjoyed a highly successful season so far. After securing a top-six result at the Dakar Rally in January, the FR 450 Rally rider went on to finish as runner-up at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, followed by third at the Sonora Rally in Mexico. Now, coming into the latter half of the world championship, Luciano is aiming to make use of his home advantage to claim another top result and close in on the series leade

The format of the Desafio Ruta 40 will see riders complete a short prologue on Sunday, August 27, before heading out into the desert proper for five full days of racing from La Rioja to the finish in Salta. Of the 2,804 kilometres covered by the RallyGP riders, 1,555 will be timed special, raced against the clock. The Argentine event is expected to challenge all competitors with a mixture of varied terrain including dunes, sandy tracks, and rocky pistes, as well as some technically demanding navigation as riders make their way through each stage. With important championship points available, Benavides will be giving his all from the start to the rally finish in Salta on September 1.

Luciano Benavides: “I’m really happy to be here in Argentina – La Rioja is like a home to me, so it feels so good to be racing here. Your home race is always special, but I’m also sitting in a good position in the championship after three strong results this year, so that makes the race even more important. Of course, I have a good idea of the terrain here, but rally is always unpredictable and the navigation here in Argentina is always really tough. My plan is to take things day-by-day, keep focused, push as hard as I can, and hopefully come away with another solid finish. Since Sonora, I’ve been doing a lot of training, both on the rally bike and the motocross bike. We had a really good test in America too, where I was able to test a few improvements that should help us at this race and in the future. Honestly, I’m feeling really good on the bike, the team have been working hard, and I’m looking forward to getting started here in Argentina.”

Source: Husqvarna Factory Racing

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: Five Toyotas and a Mini head desafio Ruta 40 Entry


Nasser AL-ATTIYAH Nasser (qat), Mathieu BAUMEL (fra), Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota GR DKR Hilux, FIA W2RC, action during the Stage 5 of the Sonora Rally 2023, 3rd round of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship, Mexico - Photo Julien Delfosse / DPPI
Five Toyota Hiluxes and a single Mini Cooper Works Rally Plus dominate the upper reaches of a 24-car FIA field for Argentina’s Desafio Ruta 40 in the absence of the Bahrain Raid Xtreme and BAIC ORV teams.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and his Andorra-based co-driver Mathieu Baumel head into the fourth and penultimate round of the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) trying to defend useful leads in the championship standings.

The top seeds currently have 30 and 35-point leads in their respective Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championships before the five-stage Argentinian challenge takes place across demanding terrain between La Rioja, Belén and Salta in the north-west of the country.

Following the retirement of arch title rivals Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin from the Sonora Rally in México and the crew’s absence from the entry list in Argentina, Overdrive Racing’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk now find themselves as the closest challengers for a maiden title. Al-Rajhi won round two in Abu Dhabi and finished second to Al-Attiyah in México.

This is a home rally for Sebastian Halpern and Bernardo Graue and they currently hold fourth in their respective championships in the sole X-raid Mini Cooper Works Rally Plus on the entry.

Juan Cruz Yacopini and Daniel Oliveras hold fifth in the W2RC title standings and are entered in a second of four Overdrive Racing Toyotas, with Denis Krotov and Konstantin Zhiltsov occupying the third car and Eugenio Amos teaming up with Paolo Ceci in the fourth Hilux, although the Italian duo are not registered for the W2RC.

Toyota Gazoo Racing currently holds a 68-point lead over the X-raid Mini JCW Rally Team in the W2RC Manufacturers’ standings. The absent BAIC ORV operation are seven points further adrift and Bahrain Raid Xtreme are fourth.

Series leader Austin Jones tops formidable T3 field

American drivers currently occupy the top three places in the FIA W2RC T3 Championship for lightweight prototype cross-country machines. Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA’s Austin Jones and Gustavo Gugelmin currently have a one-point cushion in both the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ Championships over their team-mates Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz.

Mitch Guthrie and Kellon Walch are also representing the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BF Goodrich and have guided their MCE-5 into third in the series and trail Jones and Gugelmin by 20 points.

These three crews head a field of 14 T3 teams that also includes two Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team pairings that currently hold fourth and fifth in the championship. Cristina Gutiérrez and Juan Pablo Moreno Huete and Chile’s Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez and Juan Pablo Latrach again run the two South-Racing built cars.

Portugal’s João Ferreira and Manuel Porem have entered a solitary Yamaha X-Raid YXZ 1000 R Turbo Prototype and line-up ahead of the South Racing Can-Am Team duo of Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist. The Swedes are competing privately on additional rounds of the W2RC away from their contracted roles with Team Audi Sport. South Racing has also entered T3 Can-Ams for local driver David Zille and Chilean Hernan Garces.

There are a pair of Wevers Sport Taurus T3Max 4x4s for Argentina’s Nicolas Cavigliasso and Gabriel Rodrigues, a Santos Racing Can-Am Maverick in the hands of Paraguay’s Oscar Santos Peralta, a Team BBR car for French veteran Claude Fournier and a Terracop Rally Can-Am for Chile’s Juan Carlos Cerda.

Japan’s Umeda heads four-car T4 field

Shinsuke Umeda teams up with Italy’s Maurizio Dominella to head a four-car field in the FIA T4 category in his Xtreme Plus Polaris. The Japanese is the only registered contender for W2RC points, although he will face a fierce on-stage challenge from team-mate Enrico Gaspari and the South Racing duo of Eduardo Pons and newcomer Gustavo Gallego.

Lithuania’s Rokas Baciuška has now graduated to the T1+ category and already has an unassailable lead in the W2RC T4 championship. Umeda will be hoping to finish and overhaul second-placed Eryk Goczal in the championship standings.

This year’s Desafio Ruta 40 starts in La Rioja at the foot of the Velasco Sierras and heads to the small town of Belén in the province of Catamarca, before finishing in Salta in the mountainous north-west.

The route for rounds of the W2RC is always a closely guarded secret but race officials from the A.S.O. and the Asociacion Cordobesa de Regularidad y Rally have laid on approximately 1,555 competitive kilometres in a route of around 2,804 kilometres.

2023 Desafio Ruta 40 – entry list:
200. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT/Mathieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota GR DKR Hilux
201. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
202. Sebastian Halpern (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Mini Cooper Works Rally Plus
203. Juan Cruz Yacopini (ARG)/Daniel Oliveras (ESP) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
204. Denis Krotov (KGZ)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (ISR) Toyota Hilux Overdrive
205. Eugenio Amos (ITA)/Paulo Ceci (ITA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive*
300. Austin Jones (USA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
301. Seth Quintero (USA)/Dennis Zenz (DEU) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
302. Mitch Guthrie (USA)/Kellon Walch (USA) MCE-5 4x4 (T3)
303. Cristina Gutiérrez (ESP)/Juan Pablo Moreno Huete (ESP) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
304. Francisco Lopez (CHL)/Juan Pablo Latrach (CHL) Can-Am Factory Maverick X3 (T3)
305. João Ferreira (PRT)/Manuel Porem (PRT) Yanaha X-Raid YXZ 1000R Proto (T3)
306. Mattias Ekström (SWE)/Emil Bergkvist (SWE) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
307. Claude Fournier (FRA)/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
308. David Zille (ARG)/Sebastien Cesana (ARG) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)
309. Nicolas Cavigliasso (ARG)/Valeria Pertegarini (ARG) Taurus T3Max 4x4 (T3)*
310. Juan Carlos Cerda (CHL)/Álvaro León (CHL) BRP Can-Am 4x4 (T3)*
311. Gabriel Rodriguez (ARG)/Santiago de la Vega (ARG) Taurus T3Max 4x4 (T3)*
312. Hernan Garces (CHL)/Bruno Jacomy (ARG) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)*
313. Oscar Santos Peralta ((PRY)/Loutival Roldan (BRA) Can-Am Maverick X3 (T3)*
400. Shinsuke Umeda (JPN)/Maurizio Dominella (ITA) Polaris RZR Pro R Sport (T4)
401. Enrico Gaspari (ITA)/Ricardo Torlaschi (ARG) Polaris RZR Pro R Sport (T4)*
402. Eduardo Pons (ESP)/Jaume Betriu (ESP) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR (T4)*
403. Gustavo Gallego (ARG)/Eugenio Arrieta (ARG) Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo RR (T4)*
*denotes not registered for W2RC


Source FIA
Photo: A.S.O./DPPI

Desafio Ruta 40 2023: The action is back with Ruta 40

The countdown is on for Desafio Ruta 40 YPF! All riders from the Monster Energy Honda Team will reach Argentina highly motivated, determined to show their skills in the fourth of five competitive rounds from the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship. Like the previous race held in Mexico, this is a new chapter in the W2RC history. Action will take place from 26 August to the 1 September.

The expectations are high regarding the terrain and riders will face a gruelling 2,804 kilometers route between La Rioja, Belén (Catamarca) and Salta. Following the same standard as the other short races in the calendar, there will be a total of five stages – meaning 1.555 km of special stages. Argentina hosted the Dakar Rally for ten times in a row from 2009 to 2019 and is a hot destination for off-road lovers, with sublime landscapes and a great enthusiasm from local fans. The Desafio Ruta 40 also ran for 10 editions from 2009 to 2018 and after five years on the ice is back in the international scene.

A total of 115 riders will compete in the bikes category, including 10 entrants in the Rally GP category for pro riders. Adrien Van Beveren – currently third in the W2RC ranking with 53 points – José Ignacio Cornejo (7th), Pablo Quintanilla (9th) and Ricky Brabec (10th) will represent once again our colors. In the manufacturer ranking Honda is the defending Champion.

Administrative and technical scrutineering will take place next Saturday at the Estadio Superdomo de La Rioja, from 9 am to 6 pm.

Ruben Faria - General Manager: “Here we go to the 4th stop of the W2RC. We are glad to be back in Ruta 40, where we compete for the last time in 2018. Most of the riders that will fight for the victory and for the championship points know the terrain. Adrien Van Beveren is currently our stronger contender regarding the W2RC title. The team is strong and motivated for this challenge. They like this kind of terrain, it will be for sure very technical. I think this will be a very interesting competition, so I hope we can start well in the prologue so we can fight for the Ruta 40”.

Adrien Van Beveren 42 - “I am happy to be back in Argentina. I have such good memories from this country - it was here that I made my Dakar in 2016. The desert here is really complete and there are a lot of possibilities. I think now we will be in the same area that we crossed with Dakar, so it’s very emotional to be in this region again. For me this is the purest rally can be. I feel ready, fit and prepared to go fast and I hope I can make the difference. Also happy to be again with the team and determined to fight for the championship.”

José Ignacio Cornejo 11: “I am very motivated and looking forward to restarting the championship after a couple of months. Desafio Ruta 40 is always a tough rally and I feel ready to compete at the highest level. We have been doing a great preparation with the team and things unfold really well. I can’t wait to get on top of my Honda CRF 450 Rally and start the race! It is also special for me to be in touch with the fans from Argentina, they are really warm and enthusiastic.”

Pablo Quintanilla 7: “It’s great to be back in Argentina to compete in the World Championship, that really pleases me a lot. It’s good to be again with a team after a few months away. To race in Argentina is like being home, after so many years with the Dakar in South America. Ruta 40 is a very demanding race for riders and bikes. We will face extreme temperatures in the desert, cold mornings and hot days. I feel really good to face this challenge and I am looking forward to getting into action”.

Ricky Brabec 2: “No expectations for the Ruta 40, just want to have a mistake free rally and to come away with this event behind us in healthy condition to put the focus on Dakar. Of course we want to win. it's always the goal but it's not as easy as it seems. The competition is strong and a lot of people are fighting for top spot. Looking forward to coming back to South America as we have missed this zone of rally for a few years”.

Location Information
The Desafio Ruta 40, gets installed in the global sporting context as a premium brand. More than a simple velocity race, like every Cross Country Rally, the Desafio Ruta 40 is an adventure that requires competitors other capacities that goes beyond speed to reach the goal faster. Desafio Ruta 40… read more.

Source: Monster Energy Honda Team

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.