Welcome to Desafío Ruta 40 YPF where anything may happen
Desafío Ruta 40 YPF, valid for the fourth round of the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC), has arrived in Belén and the difficulty of the terrain is already evident.
Stage 2 between La Rioja and Belén (340km of special stage) was remarkably shorter than the first stage, but much more complex, both in terms of finding the right direction and taking care of the machines. The stage started with a road that went into a very fast salt flat, but with many trails, to then give way to the first low dunes with vegetation, to finally go through a very broken track to finish -already in the second section- along the famous dry rivers of Belén. Of course, not many kilometres after the start, this section claimed the first victims of the competition.
Yacopini surprises in the car category and Schareina consolidates his position in the bike category
Juan Cruz Yacopini-Daniel Oliveras (Overdrive Racing) won the very tough stage. The driver from Mendoza stayed clear of any problems and made his way through the stage to beat all the cars, including Nasser Al Attiyah-Matthieu Baumel (Toyota Gazoo Racing) by 10’42. This is the first stage victory in a W2RC race for the Argentinean competitor. The Qatari driver had several problems with his Toyota GR DKR Hilux, but stays in the lead in the DR40 Overall standings.
In the motorbike category, no one was able to beat yesterday’s winner, Tosha Schereina (Honda Team), who, despite opening the track, managed to stay ahead and after Stage 2 continues dominating the Overall standings with a 2:22 lead over Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing). The Argentinean also had a good deal as he could keep the lead while Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) suffered with his bike.
In the quad category, Francisco Moreno (Yamaha) won the stage head-to-head with Manuel Andujar, but the winner of the 2020 Dakar Rally still leads the overall standings by 8:49.
In T3, Ekstrom had a great day. Not only did they dominate in T3, but their time placed them as the second fastest of the day in cars, behind Yacopini.
The story of the day: Price and Walkner
It was not an easy day for W2RC RallyGP leader Toby Price, who stopped at km 157 of the stage due to a suspension problem on his bike. Although he lost 15 minutes, the Australian was able to get back on track thanks to the help of his teammate Matthias Walkner, who lent him his shock absorber. However, the Austrian has now withdrawn from the race, because according to the FIM regulations, he will not be able to ride again tomorrow.
Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna Factory Racing): «Tosha did very well, he really opened the road very fast, it was incredible, and I think he made no mistakes. I felt good; in some parts, I was just a little bit nervous because the bike was moving a little bit, but then I was fine. We are in battle and that’s the important thing. There was a part in the dunes with camel grass and it was difficult to get the bike in high gear. There were a lot of holes, so it was very easy to make a mistake and fall, but you also have to think about the championship and not just fight for a stage, so I tried to be as smart as possible and I think it went well. I didn’t know anything about Toby (he had suspension problems on his bike), but the rally is like that, things always happen, it’s very long, it’s very physical, you have to navigate well, and be smart. There are a lot of things, a lot of factors that can appear in the desert and today was a crazy stage, it was the same or worse than the Dakar».
Francisco Moreno (Quads): «I’m happy to have arrived, it was a very long and very hard stage. There were some very important dunes that put a lot of physical strain on me. Being at the finish line is the important thing, so we are happy. I did my job, which was to run a clean race and try to make up time from yesterday».
Juan Cruz Yacopini (Overdrive Racing): «I am very happy to win my first stage of the world championship in Argentina. We had been working hard and we knew that it was coming. We got a lot of fesh fesh, and at the end a lot of very broken camel grass, but I like that, so we had a good time and pushed as hard as we could. At the end, there was a dune and a beautiful river to drive. We were very focused because we knew that we could overtake several riders and quads and when we caught up with Nasser we were happy because it’s not easy to do that. Today we went out to do the best we could and we found ourselves winning the stage, tomorrow we will do the same because we know that this is a very long race.
Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing): «It was a good race. We were careful from the start with all the fesh fesh. Then in the second part we tried to push, and suddenly we broke the rear suspension and had two punctures together, front and rear, and we fixed them. And then we started and we had another puncture. Today we had five punctures. But we are here, quite happy and we will see. We were very fast in the last part, on the camel grass. Yacopini overtook us in the last 10 km, but there was no point in pushing because we had a flat tyre the whole way and we didn’t have an extra one to fix it».
W2RC: A first for Yacopini
Today marked the first time that Juan Cruz Yacopini (Overdrive Racing) has won a stage in a W2RC event. The driver from Mendoza, who finished 7th on the Dakar last January, is currently 5th in the world championship with 71 points, just behind his compatriot Sebastián Halpern (X-raid Mini JCW) who has 77 points. In the absence of Sébastien Loeb and his BRX team, 3rd in the provisional championship standings with 101 points, the two Argentinian drivers are in with a chance of a podium finish in the W2RC in Salta. The younger of the two took a good chance of achieving that goal today! `
In the motorbike category, provisional leader Toby Price was saved by his KTM team-mate Matthias Walkner. The Austrian sacrificed himself by offering his shock absorber to the Australian so that he could stay in the race. Price, the W2RC leader with 62 points, lost an hour but remained in the race. Luciano Benavides and Adrien Van Beveren, respectively 2nd (55 points) and 3rd (53 points) in the W2RC standings, are still in a good position overall after two stages and can hope to take the lead of the championship in three days’ time.
Desafío Ansenuza is in the thrill of DR40
Desafío Ansenuza accompanies the 11th edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF on the roads of La Rioja, Catamarca, and Salta.
For Ansenuza competitors, the excitement of sharing the field with the great drivers of the W2RC is at its peak. Such is the case of Gerardo Muttigliengo, who let that emotion come out: «For me, being in this Desafío Ruta 40 with the best in the world is a dream come true. We are VIP spectators. I walk around the bivouac and I’m constantly in tears». «You realize where you are little by little. When I was at my administrative checks I was next to Luciano Benavides and sharing that moment was very special», the rider from Córdoba said. He also made clear his main objective, which is to complete the race, and he also knows that, perhaps, he can finish, but one of the professional riders won’t be able to do so.
Stage 3: Belén-Belén: Tomorrow, another day of navigation and high dunes
The third stage of Desafío Ruta 40 YPF will be a high-altitude duel. And not only because of the great battle we will experience on the roads but also because after a very fast cross-country start, the 268 km special stage will take the riders to an area 2,600 metres above sea level, precisely when it enters an area of soft dunes with low vegetation that will demand a lot from the riders and also from the machines.
The stage, which will take place in the north of Belén in the area of Pie de Médano, then enters a sector of dry rivers with very deteriorated trails. It is going to be a truly demanding race where anything can happen.
Spectator Zone Stage 3 Belen-Belen
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 www.desafioruta40.ar/zona-espectadores/
Fans can also visit the Belén bivouac located at Centro Recreativo FAMAYFIL (Av. Virgen de Belén and Pacífico Arques, Belén), in the province of Catamarca.