Team HRC have passed all the technical and administrative verifications prior to the start of the Desafío Ruta 40. All that remains now is for the four official riders to put pedal to the metal over the nearly 3000 kilometres that lie ahead. The first of five days racing begins tomorrow.

Team HRC will be back in business tomorrow with the opening of Argentina’s Desafío Ruta 40. The team has assembled practically the entire squad of factory riders for the occasion: Joan Barreda, Paulo Gonçalves, Michael Metge and youngster Kevin Benavides, who will dispute his third rally in 40 days.

For Barreda, Gonçalves and Metge this will be the first outing since the Rally Dakar which finished in Buenos Aires on January 16 of this year. The team mission will involve getting the riders into physical shape, getting up to competition pace and testing out the recent changes which have been made to the Honda CRF450 RALLY.

The Desafío Ruta 40, in part, covers some of the ground to be used in the Dakar, which is precisely why the team has chosen to take part here. However, the climate will be drastically different from the one experienced during the Dakar.

After having successfully made it through the pre-race scrutineering, Team HRC can now get the show on the road as the Desafío Ruta 40 kicks off from San Rafael in the western province of Mendoza. A first stage without many complications is expected.

Stages Start/Finish Liaison1 Special Liaison2 Total km
Stage 1 San Rafael – San Rafael 77.87 309.54 83.53 470.94
Stage 2 San Rafael – San Juan 300.85 310.24 21.12 632.21
Stage 3 San Juan – San Juan 105.60 515.75 57.11 678.46
Stage 4 San Juan – La Rioja 68.90 435.67 125.56 630.12
Stage 5 La Rioja – La Rioja 174.78 177.14 123.57 475.49


Joan Barreda

We are very happy to be here in Argentina, six months after the Dakar. It will be very important to see what point we are at after all of this time; after working so much on the structure of the team and also on the bike. We hope to be able to do a good job in this competition. We still have quite a long time ahead to prepare for the Dakar. It’s important to be here as this is an area which we will be racing in during the next Dakar, so that will be great for the preparation.

Paulo Goncalves

This race is important for us as it is the first one back after racing in the last Dakar. It will be a good chance to test out the changes that have been made to the bike as well as seeing what sort of physical shape we are in six months before the Dakar. It will be a long race. We will have to do it well as this is the type of terrain that the next Dakar will run through. We have to do these 3000 km to really start the season.

Michael Metge

I’m very happy to be here with the whole Honda team, HRC and MEC Team. I think that we should do a good job getting the bike set up. It’s our first race of the year as we have done little since the Dakar, except training. We will have to work hard on this terrain, which could also be used for the Dakar. I can’t wait to get started in the race.

Kevin Benavides

Yesterday we tried out the bike, which is running perfectly and today we passed all the pre-race tests. So now we are very focused for the first stage. This will be the third rally in which I have competed in a very short space of time, but I’m up for it and can’t wait to get into action. I’ve got my motivation on maximum as I’m in Argentina and I want to have a good race in my own country.

Location Information

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.

San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina - View in Google Maps