Luciano Benavides has placed third fastest on the opening stage of the 2022 Andalucia Rally. Excelling over the demanding Spanish tracks and terrain, the Argentinian completed the gruelling 315-kilometre timed special in just short of four hours, three and a half minutes behind the leader.
Showing impressive speed over yesterday’s short but fast prologue stage, a small mistake in the closing kilometres cost Benavides several seconds, resulting in the FR 450 Rally rider clocking in sixth fastest. With the prologue deciding the start positions for today’s stage one, Benavides was the seventh rider to enter the timed special, where he immediately set about chasing down his rivals ahead.
Maintaining a strong pace over the broken tracks and riverbeds seen in the early part of the special, Luciano soon caught a pair of riders ahead of him. Initially finding it difficult to make a safe pass due to the dust, Benavides eventually got ahead and was able to push onwards, towards the refuelling stop.
As the stage continued, Luciano fought his way past several other riders as he steadily climbed the leaderboard. By the 200-kilometre mark, the 26-year-old was less than two minutes down on the stage leader. Unfortunately, a small mistake in the closing kilometres cost the Husqvarna rider some time, but he was still able to secure a solid third-place result for the day, and now looks forward to a strong start position into Friday’s 568-kilometre stage two.
Luciano Benavides: “That was a crazy stage one of the Andalucia Rally. It was really slippery out there today, with many tracks and pistes, so you really had to take notice of your notes and navigation. I caught the two guys ahead of me early on, so that meant riding in their dust for quite a while before I could get past them. I put in a good section up to the refuelling, and then after that I caught another two riders, who I was able to get past quite quickly. Later on, I did make a small mistake where I was unsure about the timings after the neutralisation, and that cost me some time. We ended up riding in a group to the finish, so that was good fun. I’m really happy with my riding today and the way the bike handled this tough terrain. Thanks to my team for their hard work and we’ll go again tomorrow.”
2022 Andalucia Rally – Stage 1 Provisional Classification
1. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 3:39:25
2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:42:39
3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:42:54
4. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:44:29
5. Tosha Schareina (KTM) 3:46:30
6. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 3:46:42
2022 Andalucia Rally – Provisional Overall Classification (after stage 1)
1. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 4:45:33
2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 4:48:07
3. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 4:49:26
4. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 4:50:21
5. Tosha Schareina (KTM) 4:52:46
6. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 4:53:38