Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides has taken the win on day four of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina. Following his three successive second-place finishes, the FR 450 Rally rider excelled through the dunes in the second half of the special to claim his first stage victory and reduce the deficit to the provisional rally leader.
Thursday marked another long day in the saddle for all riders at the Desafio Ruta 40. Stage four, the penultimate of the event, included a long 345-kilometre timed special that was effectively split into two halves by a long transfer section. The second half of the special saw riders navigate their way through the infamous Fiambala dunes before reaching the finish.
Enjoying the terrain, Benavides put in another strong ride throughout the special, making the minimum of mistakes early on and then excelling when the action hit the dunes. Times were tight among the front runners with less than five minutes separating the top six after close to three hours of racing. However his overall pace and the time bonuses he accumulated by leading out the stage secured Luciano his first stage win of the event.
With one day left to race at the Desafio Ruta 40, Benavides trails the provisional leader by just less than six minutes. And with tomorrow’s 258-kilometre special still to go, the Argentine will undoubtedly be going all out for the win.
Luciano Benavides: “Finally, I have got a stage win at my home race – the most important one at Fiambala. Honestly, at the beginning this morning I was taking things a little steady because I didn’t feel so confident. But then after the neutralisation, I saw the dunes and decided to push. It was really good – I was able to catch Tosha (Schareina) ahead of me and then opened for a few kilometres. I really gave my all today, and so towards the end of the special I started to get tired, and I think because of that, I made a small mistake that maybe cost me two minutes. But I was still able to take the win and it feels great. Tomorrow is the final stage and I get to open on the way to Salta, which was always my plan and will feel great in front of my home fans. Hopefully, I can deliver another good result and a strong finish to the rally.”
Desafio Ruta 40 - Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 2:53:57
2. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 2:54:33
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 2:55:43
4. Michael Docherty (KTM) 2:57:17
5. Toby Price (KTM) 2:58:37
6. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 2:58:562023
2023 Desafio Ruta 40 – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
1. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 13:15:26
2. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 13:21:13
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 13:38:39
4. Ross Branch (Hero) 13:44:49
5. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 13:47:54
6. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 13:53:19