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

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

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  • 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

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