The Argentinean Ruta 40 rally lived up to Team HRC’s expectations. Honda CRF450 RALLY bikes monopolized the top positions on every day of the event, displaying great performance and reliability throughout.

After getting the 2016 season underway with a victory in the Merzouga Rally and a solid performance in the Sardegna Rally Race, the Desafío Ruta 40 was an opportunity to really fine-tune the revamped Team HRC. The participation of four of the factory riders – Joan Barreda, Paulo Gonçalves, Kevin Benavides and Michael Metge – was highly positive, with the team consistently notching up top finishes. In addition, the team succeeded in setting up the Honda CRF450 RALLY with virtually the same configuration that will be used in the Rally Dakar 2017.

The team comes away from Argentina very satisfied. As far as the racing went, Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda bonded well throughout the week, at a pace which other competitors were unable to match. The win for Kevin Benavides underlines the enormous potential that the young Argentinean possesses.

For Paulo Gonçalves, participation in the Ruta 40 begins the first phase of his Dakar preparation. The Portuguese rider eased himself into the rally and improved performances by the day. At full pace by the final stage, the gutsy HRC rider might have even taken the victory, had he not stopped to help out teammate Barreda. Gonçalves finished on the third step of the final podium in La Rioja.

Team HRC’s other rider, Frenchman Michael Metge, had a tricky start to the rally. Metge fell victim to a one-minute penalty for speeding in a radar zone, before taking a nasty blow in the back whilst jumping a dune. The Frenchman, however, battled back, gathering pace and eventually finished in a respectable position.

You can see the video here

Private: Martino Bianchi

Monster Energy Honda General Manager

The Desafío Ruta 40 has been really great practice for both team and riders. It was a very high-level race, especially with the pace set by Barreda and Benavides. It was incredible to see the battle between these tremendously talented riders. Kevin Benavides showed enormous potential and he is improving his skills day-by-day and he did a great job in winning this race in such a convincing way. Likewise, Joan Barreda was really fast, but unfortunately he made a slight mistake in the final stage. They had been very close and both of them would have been able to make it onto the top of the rostrum. Now we have a day off, then some more training ahead of the Dakar. My compliments to the whole team and thanks to Honda South America for all their support in this hard race.

2016 Season
Post-Race 1   Ruta40

FINAL RESULTS Desafío Ruta 40 2016

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Benavides Kevin ARG Team HRC Honda 16:46'47
2 Barreda Joan SPA Team HRC Honda +6'56
3 Goncalves Paulo POR Team HRC Honda +28'56
4 Caimi Franco ARG Honda South America Rally Team Honda +1:09'41
5 Metge Michael FRA Team HRC Honda +1:18'31
6 Salvatierra Juan Carlos BOL Chavo Salvatierra Racing KTM +2:25'40
7 Duplessis Martín ARG MED Racing Team KTM +2:26'15
8 Kozac José Julián ARG Julián Kozac Rally Team Yamaha +3:25'51
9 Pizzolito Javier ARG Honda South America Rally Team Honda +3:31'35
10 Fuentes Fabricio BOL Villa Montes Racing KTM +4:14'26

Team HRC Desafio Ruta 40 2016

Three Honda names featured on the 2016 Desafío Ruta 40 final podium: Kevin Benavides, Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves after a thrilling, emotion-packed final stage.

Team HRC dominated the rally. On day one the Honda CRF450 RALLY riders occupied the top four places and subsequently held on to them throughout the entire Desafío Ruta 40.

Kevin Benavides clinched the final stage victory today. This was the Argentine’s third stage win. Benavides managed to keep the attacks from teammate Joan Barreda contained to grab the overall victory. This is the first triumph for Benavides in the Ruta 40 and the second win this year after the success in the Merzouga Rally in May.

It wasn’t the best day for Joan Barreda, eager to make up the twenty-three second deficit with the race leader. However, the dust raised by Benavides in front led to the Spanish rider over-running a curve and ditching the bike on a slope. Fortunately, teammate Paulo Gonçalves was at hand to help get the bike back on track and allow Barrreda to finish the special stage.

It was indeed Gonçalves who posted the day’s second fastest time in the closing stage of the Desafío Ruta 40, to consolidate his third place final podium finish. Michael Metge continued to regain momentum after the opening day’s mishap, taking the fourth fastest time, as the race wound up in La Rioja, with fifth in the overall rankings.

Honda South America Rally Team riders Franco Caimi and Javier Pizzolito concluded a satisfactory rally. Caimi, on his first outing here, finished with an overall fourth place and Pizzolito, who experienced an electrical fault on the third day, took ninth spot in the final standings.

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