A great ending for Desafío Ruta 40 YPF

A great ending for Desafío Ruta 40 YPF

The fourth round of the World Rally Raid Championship finished on Friday in the city of Salta, with the winners of all the categories celebrating at the podium. Tosha Schareina (Honda Team) won the race but Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Racing Factory) achieved the best result in the RallyGP category. Nasser Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing) were the winners in Cars and Manuel Andujar (Yamaha) was the best in Quads.

A week of action and adrenaline as we have not seen in these South American lands for more than five years. The essence of the Rally Raid came back to life in a territory that breathes the passion for motorsport and where the people give a special touch to each event.  Dreamlike landscapes, a route of maximum sporting demand, and excellent weather made this race a real party.

Tosha Schareina (Honda Team) dominated the bike category from start to finish. From being the surprise in the first stage to consolidating in the following days, the Spaniard managed the race and finished with a lead of 11:36 over Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing). Anyway, the Spaniard had his gain as he took the points of the first place because the Spaniard does not collect points for the World Championship.

In Rally2, the victory went to South African Bradley Cox (BAS Wolrd KTM Racing Team), while in Rally3 the victory went to Austrian Ardit Kurtaj (Xraids Experience).

In Cars Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing) won their fourth stage in the competition and sealed their third victory of the season ahead of Argentinean Juan Cruz Yacopini, with co-driver Brazilian Daniel Oliveras (Overdrive Racing). In T3 the winners were Mitchell Guthrie / Kellon Walch (Red Bull Off Road Junior Team USA) while in T4 the best were the Argentinians Gustavo Gallego and Eugenio Arrieta (South Racing Can Am).

Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing), the reigning world champion, scored his third victory of the season and strengthened his lead (189 points). Juan Cruz Yacopini (Overdrive Racing) moved up to 3rd in the championship (109 pts). Yazeed Al Rajhi remains 2nd in the championship (138 pts).

The dominance of the Hilux enabled Toyota Gazoo Racing to pocket enough points to extend its Manufacturers’ World Championship title ahead of the final.

Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) lost his position as W2RC leader to Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing), who now has 80 points to the Australian’s 71. Adrien Van Beveren retains his 3rd position in the championship with 66 points.

The Monster Energy Honda team now leads the Manufacturers’ World Championship with 128 points, compared to 122 for KTM and 114 for Husqvarna.

Crédito: Rally Zone

The Open category also crowned its winners

Marcio Yampa (MEB Belén Rally) was the best among the Open Bikes after Joaquín Debeljuh (RVW Rally Team), who had started the last day as leader, crashed. Among the Quads, Santiago Rostan (father – Pampa Rental Rally Team) took first place.

Jeremías González Ferioli and Gonzalo Rinaldi (Ferioli Racing Team) were the best overall and in T3, beating Paraguayans Blas Zapag and Juan José Sánchez (Copetrol Rally), -winners in Cars-. Juan José Semino and Gonzalo Oltra (Xcorpion Rally Racing) won in T4.

The voices of the winners
Tosha Schareina (Honda Team – Winner of DR40):
«I am proud to be in Argentina and nothing better than a victory in my first time here. The support of all the people is inhuman. It has been a super complete race. This is really and until the last moment we didn’t know what was going to happen, I had to set my jaw and I did it».


Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing – Winner in RallyGP):  «I won the world round, but Tosha won the race, he did a great job and I want to congratulate him. But the most important thing is that I got to the end of this race as the leader of the world championship with one round to go. My dream is to be world champion in the highest category of rallying. We are just one step away. I don’t know what’s the gap now, I have to do all the calculations. It was incredible to have Kevin (Benavides) there out of the race, supporting me and giving me advice. He has never won the World Championship so far and he was trying to keep me calm because he knew that you don’t always get the chance to fight for the title and this time I have that chance. He won the Dakar and if I can win the world championship I think it would be an unthinkable year for both of us, and for Argentina as well, to make history».

Bradley Cox (BAS WORLD KTM RACING TEAM – Winner in Rally 2): “I’ve never raced in Argentina before. It’s unbelievable. I´ve heard so many stories from here, my dad did it in a car. He gave me a little bit of advice.  But that was long ago. From the moment I saw it, I just fell in love with the terrain. Every day was great for me. I started off steady and managed to get my way closer and closer to the top ones.   I even managed to ride in the top three on times in a couple of days. I´m super happy to win Rally 2 W2RC, it was the goal. The first half of my year was not so good, crash in Dakar, missed Abu Dhabi, Mexico was terrible, so this is a good step for me. Argentina was the lucky country, maybe I’ll move in (laughs).

Manuel Andujar (winner in Quads): «We completed the song. We have the last line. I am very happy to have won this historic race which is Desafío Ruta 40. It was the difficult figurine that we hadn’t been able to get; then the race was discontinued and we didn’t have the chance to run it. Now, with a little more experience, we came back and we did a smart race and we were able to take it home. The key was to be consistent in the stages».

Ardit Kurtaj (Xraids Experience – Winner in Rally 3): For me personally, it was really the most beautiful race, for the landscapes, especially today, it was amazing. I´m in Argentina for the first time and in Ruta 40, it´s really crazy. But what I can say about the rally is that it is really a “desafío”, it´s really a challenge, much more than the other rallies. It was more difficult than what I thought, especially yesterday. When you are 50km in Fiambalá, it´s amazing, it is crazy, it is so beautiful.  For sure I’m going to come here next year. I may race the whole championship next year again, why not?

Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing – Winner in Cars and T1): «It’s nice to win the race. I am very happy to win. It’s great to be in Argentina again, the stages are spectacular, the organisation did a great job. We don’t feel any different from the last time we raced here with the Dakar. Next year I will be back.”

Mitchell Guthrie (Red Bull Off Road Junior Team USA – Winner in T3): “It was a lot of fun, a very challenging race, tough . It´s my first time here in Argentina. The first place is amazing. First Overall in the race is great. I´m happy. I love to represent my country here.”

Gustavo Gallego (South Racing Can-Am – Winner in T4): «This is the goal we set ourselves and we managed to finish in first place. We did things very well, we never stopped, we didn’t get lost. I’m more than happy, as it was my 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».

Crédito: Paco Foto Agencia

The Organisers’ voices
David Eli, organiser of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF: «We are very happy and proud of the event we have organised. It has been a great sporting competition and the feedback from the drivers and teams has been very favourable and the response from the fans  has been incredible. All this was possible thanks to the great effort of a great team that worked together to make this event happen. We would like to thank, of course, the work done by the three provinces: La Rioja, Catamarca and Salta, as well as our sponsors. We look forward to seeing you all again in Argentina from 2 to 8 June 2024 for a new DR40».

Pablo Eli, director deportivo: “Este Desafío Ruta 40 superó las expectativas de todos. El calor del público también hace que sea distinto. Creo que todos extrañaban venir a correr a Argentina. Los pilotos están muy contentos por la carrera que hicimos, con gran versatilidad de terrenos. El año que viene tengo ganas de llevar la carrera un poco más al sur”.


Road to Dakar
The DR40 was a great attraction for a new generation of riders and drivers who dream of competing in the Dakar Rally because Desafío Ruta 40 was part of the Road to Dakar program for bikes and T4s. Santiago Rostan (son) won in the bikes category. While in the T4 category, the ticket was in the hands of Juan José Semino-Gonzalo Oltra (Xcorpion Rally Racing). «I can’t believe I won the Road to Dakar, it’s the dream of many riders. We came for that. It was hard. Yesterday we had a bad time and we lost all clutch in the middle of the dunes, but we were able to finish. We were repairing until late, but racing is racing. I don’t realize yet of what has happened. I don’t know how I’m going to make it to Saudi Arabia for the Dakar. Luckily I was able to share it with my dad whom I was told is on his way to the bivouac. I am more than grateful to all the people who have offered me a hand so that I can be here because it has been a big effort. I think that these things push sportsmen forward. When you have a dream, you have to set your mind to it and things happen», said the young bike rider on his arrival in Salta with all the excitement in the air.

The team behind Desafío Ruta 40

After a five-year hiatus, Desafío Ruta 40 YPF is back in style and this is reflected in the numbers of the competition. 110 competitors set off from La Rioja, accompanied by the 1,800 members of the different teams and assistance people who accompanied them throughout the race. Behind them, there were 200 staff members from the organisation and sports officials who were present at each bivouac.

Naturally, a race this big also involved a large security operation with the essential participation of a PCO who worked tirelessly monitoring the race and coordinating all the different parts, such as the 2 medical support helicopters, the different medical posts, and all the security personnel.

Of course, this race needed the must-have: 94 journalists and photographers from all over the world actively accompanied the entire race, showing the images of this Desafío Ruta 40 YPF to the whole planet.



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