Desafío Ruta 40 YPF: A duel in the heights

Desafío Ruta 40 YPF: A duel in the heights

Desafío Ruta 40 YPF 2023, valid for the fourth round of the World Rally Raid Championship, reached the halfway point of the competition. Stage 3 Belén-Belén consolidated the leads of Tosha Schareina (bikes) and Nasser Al Attiyah (cars). But tomorrow the dunes of Fiambalá are awaiting and everything can change.


A duel in the heights.

This first loop in Belén, with 268 km of special stage, took the competitors 2,600 metres above sea level, in the north of Belén in the area of Pie de Médano. The special stage started in a very fast cross-country section and then came to a zone of soft dunes with low vegetation that put physical demands on the riders and also on the machines. Finally, they entered a sector of dry rivers with very deteriorated trails making it a truly demanding stage.


Schareina dominates again in bikes; Benavides and Al Attiyah get stronger in the World Championship

Tosha Schareina (Honda Team) continues leading the overall standings in the motorbike category. Today, thanks to the «Bonus» awarded to the bike rider who opens the track on each stage, the Spaniard was once again the fastest in the section (his third consecutive stage victory) and now leads the overall standings by 6:23 ahead of Argentinean Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing), who also remains the best rider in the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC).

In the quad category, Manuel Andujar (Yamaha) took revenge for yesterday’s problems and got his second stage victory, which allowed him to move into first place in the overall standings, just over 14 minutes ahead form his rivals. The fight for the second place is red hot, with Francisco Moreno (Yamaha) and Marcelo Medeiros (Yamaha) separated by just one second.

Unlike yesterday, this Wednesday Nasser Al Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing) did not have any problems and claimed victory again with authority. En T4, Gustavo Gallego y Eugenio Arrieta (South Racing Can Am) ganaron la etapa y tomaron el mando de la general tras el abandono Eduardo Pons y Jaume Betriu (South Racing Can Am).

In T3, the victory went to Mitchell Guthrie and Kellon Walch (Red Bull Off Road Junior Team), who are also leading the overall seven and a half minutes ahead of Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz (Red Bull Off Road Junior Team) and Nicolas Cavigliasso and Valentina Pertegarini (Wever Sport).

In T4, Gustavo Gallego and Eugenio Arrieta (South Racing Can Am) won the stage and took the lead in the overall after Eduardo Pons and Jaume Betriu (South Racing Can Am) retired.


W2RC: Salta in Sight
For the W2RC cars, the retirement of Sebastián Halpern on this stage will certainly have two consequences at the finish in Salta. Firstly, a new winner should be crowned in the DR40 cars. Secondly, Toyota should extend its lead in the constructors’ championship and perhaps celebrate its second title before the finish.

In the bike category, after Walkner’s retirement yesterday, Price’s technical incident, which took him back to more than an hour behind the race leader, and Sunderland’s retirement today, the only chance for the Austrian KTM-GasGas-HVA teams stays with Luciano Benavides. Honda has all its riders in the race. An advantage not only for the victory but also for the points in the manufacturer’s championship.


The Voices at Desafío Ruta 40 YPF

Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team): The stage was good, faster than we expected. The opening bonus time is not a fair game at all. You don’t have the chance to lead the overall unless we have the chance to start in the front and gain those minutes, so it is definitely tough with the bonus time. I wish they would do something about it, take it out of the system, and go back to normal. The day was good. I’ll go on safely and prepare for the Dakar. It’s a good rally, a lot faster than we expected. The challenge is good, there are many different roads, and many rivers, but it is killing us with the bonus time. It is tough to make a good time with this program. We´ll try to enjoy the two more days here in South America. It is good to be back here.

Toby Price (RED BULL KTM Factory Racing): The stage was good. I think at km 68 it was, I fought to stay on two wheels. I just don’t want to get an injury now,  so just tried the navigation, but it is kind of hard because you barely have a line on the ground, but we are here in one piece and I´ll try cruising along. Yesterday was just one of those days. Motorsport racing can be cruel sometimes and yesterday was my day. I should say my bike ran over a black cat or went under a ladder or something like that. It is just not my time at the moment. Anyway, we don´t have injuries, which is the main thing and I’ll keep on two wheels. I think the championship today is done. I´ll hold on to 1% of it and try to fight till the end in Morocco. It is good to be back here in Argentina. It’s a long time since I was here. It’s good to see fans and lots of people on the sides of the road and this is a big bonus.

Manuel Andujar (Quads): «Today we had an interesting stage. I arrived at the start with a small problem, the shock absorber broke so I started the stage with a broken shock absorber. At around km 100, I was able to overtake the guy in front and the truth is that I got a bit dusty, but I overtook him and then I went calmly because I didn’t want to keep damaging the quad. So, the stage was «make it to the end». Fiambalá is going to be nice».

Sebastian Halpern (X-raid MINI JCW Team): «After the dunes, at km 49 we came into a river and I put the car in 5th gear but it wouldn’t move forward. Something broke and we will have to change the gearbox. It’s a pity because we had started the stage like that. The car is very reliable and it’s the first time something like this has happened to us. We are left with a bitter taste».

Mitchell Guthrie (Red Bull Off Road Junior Team USA – T3): «A good stage, a lot of fun, we didn’t do anything too crazy today. We did a great job navigating. We’re happy to be the stage winners and we’re going to try to do the same strategy for the two remaining stages. We are going to keep going like this, reaching the finish line is our goal, we are going to keep the pace and keep going like this».


The story of the day: Brothers be united

Mariano and Facundo Viel, both quad riders, arrived together at the bivouac in Belen. The peculiarity was that Facundo arrived being towed by his brother´s quad.  Mariano brought him back to the bivouac. «It was a technical stage, I was doing very well but with a few kilometres to go, I don’t know if it was the gearbox or the engine, something blew up. It was a pity. My brother was right behind me, so we prepared everything quickly and set off. Now we are going to dismantle everything and go on with faith. We’ve been racing together since we were kids, so we’ve got it built in. The two of us are always there for each other», Facundo said when he arrived.


This edition of the DR40 has 6 women participating in different categories. On the international side, there are two: Spanish Cristina Gutierrez, in a T3 from the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing Team; and Suany Martínez, from Bolivia, in a Quad.

Entre las nacionales, Ayelén Bogado recorre los caminos de La Rioja, Catamarca y Salta en un Quad Yamaha, y luego hay 3 navegantes: Valentina Pertegarini es la compañera y esposa de Nicolás Cavigliasso en un UTV del Wevers Sport, Antonela Fazzi va con Pablo Macua con un Can-Am 4×4 y Yessica Gentile es la copiloto de su padre Rubén, en otro UTV del HV Racing.

Among the nationals, there’s Ayelén Bogado who travels the roads of La Rioja, Catamarca, and Salta on a Yamaha Quad, and then there are 3 co-drivers: Valentina Pertegarini is the partner and wife of Nicolás Cavigliasso in a Wevers Sport UTV, Antonela Fazzi goes with Pablo Macua in a Can-Am 4×4 and Yessica Gentile is the co-driver of her father Rubén, in another HV Racing UTV.

«My message for those who like it is to take the plunge. We are growing a lot and there are many of us in this field.” Antonella Fazzi said. While Ayelén Gentile thinks there are no differences: “The teams treat us very well and when we enjoy it, it’s great fun. In short, we are the same. I hope there are more of us in the next Desafío Ruta 40.”, she said.


Stage 4 Belén Belén: Fiambalá dunes, the highlight of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF, arrive tomorrow.

The fourth stage of the competition will cover a total of 584 kilometres, 348 of which will be timed, most of them through one of the most emblematic regions of the world Rally Raid: the Fiambalá Dunes. But before that, the competitors will have to face a good part of the track through the intricate dry rivers of Belén, where the different branches can confuse the riders’ course and the rocks can break any dreams of victory. After that demanding first section – with no shortage of navigational sectors – riders and drivers will have to tackle the challenging dunes of Fiambalá before taking the long return to Belen.
Sin duda, esta será una de las últimas oportunidades para poder lograr una diferencia o descontar terreno antes de encarar la última jornada del Desafío Ruta 40 YPF.

No doubt, this will be one of the last chances to make a difference or make up ground before the final day of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF.

Spectators Zone Stage 4 Belén-Belén
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 the website:

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

On Friday, the DR40 caravan will head for Salta, where the awards ceremony will take place at the bivouac located at the Centro de Convenciones.

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