Desafio Ruta 40 Monster Honda : The longest day is over

It was the first and at the same time the longest day from the Desafio Ruta 40 YPF. Today riders had to leave the bivouac before the sun rise in order to reach the start of stage 1, completing a circuit of around 700 km with start and arrival in La Rioja. The fourth stop of the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) brought the off-road action back to the heart of Argentina. After the warm-up from yesterday, the intensity was extreme with 334 km of Special Stage composed mainly of hard gravel.

The stage winner was spaniard Tosha Schareina, a young gun that is also riding an Honda CRF 450 CRF – he finished with 17 seconds over Luciano Benavides and 1’33 over Adrien Van Beveren. The frenchman had the best performance from the Monster Energy Honda Team, followed by Nacho Cornejo who was 6’06 slower than the leader. Pablo Quintanilla finished in position 8 while Ricky Brabec finished the stage in 9 th place. For different reasons, these two last riders received a 6 minute penalty.

In the overall standings, Van Beveren stands in third place (1’09 gap), Quintanilla in 6th place (7’32 gap), Cornejo in position 8 and Brabec is now ranked in 9th place.

Tomorrow the race will leave the province of La Rioja in the direction of Belén. There will be 197 km of liaison and 265 km of Special Stage. This second stage will start with gravel track, followed by a great mix of more demanding terrains: chott, fesh-fesh, dunes and sand.

Ruben Faria – General Manager : « Our riders did a good performance today, starting with Nacho who had the hard task to open the stage. Pablo was fast but got a 6 minute penalty due to the speed limit in the liaison. Adrien also did well, but had to slow down in the end of the stage due to problems in the rear tyre – the same thing happened to Ricky and he had to work on the bike and reached the final control too late. Tomorrow we will have a hard stage with a lot of navigation, that’s for sure a great opportunity for us to climb in the overall standings. »

Adrien Van Beveren #42 : « Stage 1 was a good day for me, a little bit difficult to warm-up in the beginning in the river beds with shadows and the sun but it was the same for everybody. I enjoyed the tracks, it was fast but then unfortunately I had an issue with my bib mousse and I had to slow down in the last 20 km. Luckily I could make it until the end and that was on the limit. »

Pablo Quintanilla #7 : « The first day from the Desafio Ruta 40 is over and what a day it was! The first part of the special stage was fast and then we had a main track, more rally car style very sinuous and slippery. I’m happy because I got a good position for tomorrow. We will ride into the open desert so it’s important to keep the focus and to be calm. »

José Ignacio Cornejo #11 : « Today I had to open the stage and that is never an easy job to do and I think I did it well. Of course it is normal to lose some minutes when you open the way. I also made a few little mistakes, but nothing really big. So overall it was a good day, I felt good on my Honda CRF 450 Rally and that’s what matters. »

Ricky Brabec #2 : « Today was good until it wasn’t and this is how rally works many times. Now we have four more days to compete and fight for the best possible outcome and this works individually but also thinking about Honda defending its manufacturer world title. »

Provisional Standings after Stage 1
1. Schareina Tosha – SPA – Honda Team, 3:55:00
2. Benavides Luciano – ARG – Husqvarna Factory Racing, 3:55:01
3. Van Beveren Adrien – FRA – Monster Energy Honda Team, 3:56:09
4. Price Toby – AUS – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team, 3:58:17
5. Evan Branch Ross – BWA – Hero Motorsports Team Rally, 3:59:06
6. Quintanilla Pablo – CHI – Monster Energy Honda, Team, 4:02:32
7. Bühler Sebastian – Hero Motorsports Team Rally, 4:03:43
8. Cornejo José Ignacio – CHI – Monster Energy Honda Team, 4:04:26
9. Brabec Ricky – USA – Monster Energy Honda Team, 4:07:32
1.0 Sunderland Sam – GBR – Gas Gas Factory Team, 4:08:15…