Paulo Gonçalves, Kevin Benavides and Michael Metge all finished in the leading four positions as the first Desafío Ruta 40 stage concluded in Villa Unión. Ricky Brabec was eighth.
After the short five-kilometre appetizer disputed yesterday on the outskirts of El Villicum, today it was down to the real deal for the bikes as the first full-stage of the Desafío Ruta 40, the fourth date in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
The Monster Energy Honda Team yesterday scored an excellent team result in the curtain-raiser, placing all four participants in the top seven finishers. Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves took third spot, narrowly nudging out local idol Kevin Benavides. Michael Metge came home sixth with Ricky Brabec close behind.
Today Michael Metge rode a majestic stage. Mika was the first rider to attack the long special stage and made it through to the finish line without being overtaken. In spite of having the disadvantageous task of opening the track, the Frenchman still managed to post the day’s fourth fastest time.
Paulo Gonçalves was the best of the four team riders, finishing in runner-up position without conceding much time to the eventual stage winner Sam Sunderland. Behind the Portuguese Monster Energy Honda Team rider was Kevin Benavides. The Argentinean made a gallant comeback after having fallen in a river. The rider, who hails from Salta, Argentina, will, however, be ready to take the start-line tomorrow.
American Ricky Brabec, too, was performing well in the stage until the tricky section coming out of the dunes which involved particularly difficult navigation in a dried out river. A minor directional error saw the rider drop precious time, which he will look to rectify in the stage tomorrow.
- San Juan waved farewell to the participants of the Ruta 40 this morning. The capital – of the region of the same name – with more than 470,000 inhabitants, had hosted the first three days of scrutineering, prologue and the first stage of this, the eighth edition of the event.
- The first participant to leave the bivouac on Sunday was the Frenchman of the Monster Energy Honda Team, Michael Metge at 07:25, who had chosen to open the track in the draw for starting positions after the prologue yesterday.
- The 321-kilometre special opened at 08:30 and after a first 50 kilometres of fairly plain sailing, riders were then faced with the complications of having to navigate in a dried-up river, a task which put everyone to the test. The final part of the stage offered a taster of what is to come in tomorrow’s second stage.
- Villa Unión, a town in the province of La Rioja of about 5,000 inhabitants, with a fine wine-growing tradition, plays home to the bivouac of this second day of competition. The town is located 330 kilometres from San Juan.
- The second stage of the Desafio Ruta 40 will be held tomorrow between Villa Union and Tinogasta, in the region of Catamarca. There will be 336 kilometres of timed special with a total of 100km of liaison. Riders can expect dry rivers, trial-style riding and fast track in altitude some 3,500 metres above sea level, until the 80 km neutralization zone when the race takes to the famous Fiambalá dunes. This is the first time that Ruta 40 passes through this legendary desert area.
Results Stage 1
|1||Sunderland Sam||GBR||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||3:40'55|
|2||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+3'22|
|3||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+5'53|
|4||Metge Michael||FRA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+7'05|
|5||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+11'31|
|6||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+17'00|
|7||Walkner Matthias||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+17'17|
|8||Brabec Ricky||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+19'25|
|9||Nosiglia Daniel||BOL||Team Nosiglia||KTM||+32'11|
|10||Duplessis Martín||ARG||Asistencia Med||KTM||+35'29|
Provisional Standings after Stage1
|1||Sunderland Sam||GBR||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||3:44'33|
|2||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+3'23|
|3||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+5'54|
|4||Metge Michael||FRA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+7'07|
|5||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+11'38|
|6||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+17'02|
|7||Brabec Ricky||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+19'28|
|8||Nosiglia Walter||BOL||Team Nosiglia||KTM||+32'22|
|9||Duplessis Martín||ARG||Asistencia Med||KTM||+44'51|
|10||Benavides Luciano||ARG||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+56'20|
The Desafio Ruta 40, gets installed in the global sporting context as a premium brand. More than a simple velocity race, like every Cross Country Rally, the Desafio Ruta 40 is an adventure that requires competitors other capacities that goes beyond speed to reach the goal faster. Desafio Ruta 40… read more.
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