People from La Rioja vibrated with the 110 competitors at the start of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF.
A large number of fans settled on the banks of Dique Los Sauces to enjoy the first kilometres of speed of a race that, after the start ramp this Sunday, will face five stages and finish in Salta on 1 September. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) in bikes, Marcelo Medeiros (Yamaha) in Quads, and Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota) in cars, were the fastest in the prologue. 110 competitors (96 W2RC and OPEN, plus 14 competitors in Desafío Ansenuza) started the Prologue.
The action of the fourth round of the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) got underway with a short but interesting 9-kilometre prologue that served to sort out the start of Monday’s stage and also allowed drivers and riders to finally release tensions previous to the start of the rally.
On a twisty section with poor grip, Adrien Van Beveren clocked a time of 6m48s and won ahead of local rider Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna), although they were separated by just one second.
Ricky Brabec (Honda) and Matthias Walkner (KTM) were third, two seconds behind the leader.
In the quad category, they were also quite close and tight, with Marcelo Medeiros and Tobias Carrizo (Yamaha) equal on time, while third, one second behind, was Manuel Andujar (Yamaha). In the car category, Nasser Al Attiyah managed to gain a small advantage of 8 seconds over his team-mate Yazeed Al Rajhi (Toyota). Third was Mitchell Guthire (MCE5) – the best T3 – 17 seconds behind the leader.
The competitors’ voices:
Adrien Van Beveren (MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM): «It’s a nice feeling to start with the victory, but I don’t think it will make much difference in the overall. Tomorrow the terrain will be technical. But it can be a bit tricky in terms of navigation. Still, we have a good feeling about being in Argentina».
Marcelo Medeiros (Quads): «It was a very fast start, WRC style which I like a lot, similar to Brazil. The quad worked perfectly. For tomorrow I plan to start with a calm pace, thinking about the navigation, so as not to damage the car.
Desafío Ruta 40: The Legacy
This 11th edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF has a special feature: a large number of fathers and their sons or daughters are running simultaneously and even others following the legacy left by their fathers in this challenge.
On this occasion, five families are taking part. On the international side, the Paraguayan Blas Zapag Peralta (father and son) and on the Bolivian side, the Martínez family with Leonardo and his daughter, Suany, are taking part. As for the Argentinians, the Rostans, Santiago (father) and Santiago (son), as well as the Gentile family are taking part in the same vehicle: Ruben will drive and his daughter, Yesica, will be his co-driver. Ruben spoke on this family experience: «Racing with a daughter is a unique experience. To be here in such an event is unthinkable for us. We want to start and arrive together.
Juan Cruz Yacopini will be looking to extend the legacy of his father Alejandro. While Jeremías Pascual continues in the tradition of his father Pablo. «Since I was very young I was learning with my father, with my uncle, making the pace notes and being next to them. We never put it into practice, the theory was unconsciously in me, that made it easier for me to learn on the bike», Jeremías said about his short experience in the Rally, which he will try to extend, as he is registered in the Road to Dakar program and will try to secure his place for the Dakar Rally in this Desafío Ruta 40.
The first stage gets underway tomorrow
This Monday will be the time for the truth. The caravan will face the first long day of competition, with a stage 696-kilometres long, out of which 334 kilometres will be full speed. The race will start with a section of dry rivers with sandy surfaces, before quickly moving on to mountain roads, typical of rallying. The loose gravel can cause the vehicles to lose grip and large rocks and some cliffs await on the side of the road.
It will be an ideal special stage for those who enjoy driving on twisty sections and where the most skillful drivers will be able to make a difference.