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Luciano Benavides Claims Stage Four Win at the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40

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Luciano Benavides broke Tosha Schareina’s three was win streak after topping the results on stage four.

Luciano Benavides secured victory on the fourth and penultimate stage of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina.

After three successive second-place finishes, the Argentinian excelled through the dunes in the second half of the special to claim his first stage victory, breaking the winning streak of Tosha Schareina. Ricky Brabec maintained a consistent performance to round out the top three.

Day four of the Desafio Ruta 40 proved to be another demanding ride. The penultimate stage featured a lengthy 345-kilometer timed special, effectively split in half by a substantial transfer section. The latter portion of the special saw riders navigate the challenging Fiambala dunes before reaching the finish line.

Luciano Benavides rode with strength and precision throughout the special, minimising errors early on and excelling when tackling the dunes. The competition was close among the front-runners, with less than a five-minute gap between the top six riders after almost three hours of racing. Benavides’ consistent pace and time bonuses secured him his first stage win of the event.

With just one stage remaining in the Desafio Ruta 40, Benavides trails the provisional leader, Schareina, by just under six minutes.

Benavides shared his thoughts on the win, saying, “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.”

Tosha Schareina secured second place on the penultimate stage, ending his three-stage winning streak. He maintains an overall lead of just under six minutes heading into the final day.

Photo Rally Rider of Ricky Brabec on stage four of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
American Ricky Brabec kept the constancy going with another third place.

Ricky Brabec, maintaining a consistent pace, secured third place with a gap of one minute and 40 seconds from stage leader Luciano Benavides. In the overall standings, Brabec holds onto his third place position with a gap of 23 minutes and 13 seconds.

Brabec commented on the stage, saying, “The stage was good, two days ago we did more or less the same round but just in the other direction and then on the second part of the stage was Fiambala where we haven’t been there since the Dakar with its soft dunes. This was a day where opening bonus time made sense. Looking forward to the final day.”

Photo Rally Rider of Michael Docherty on stage four of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
South African Michael Docherty made it into the top five for the first time with an impressive fourth.

Michael Docherty delivered an impressive performance, clocking the best raw time and outpacing even the top rider. However, accounting for bonuses dropped him to fourth place for the day.

Toby Price secured fifth place, solidifying his ninth overall position. Looking ahead, Price aims for another strong day of racing to improve his standings further.

Striving to recover from his technical setback on stage two, Price demonstrated determination with yet another remarkable performance on the special. While his early struggles set him back from his championship lead, Price’s consistent progress showcases his commitment to maximizing his championship points and competing fiercely in the upcoming fifth and final round in Morocco.

Reflecting on his performance, Price said, “It’s been a better day for me today. I got through it all pretty well, but the bonus time for leading out is definitely a big advantage here in Argentina – it’s tough to make up time on those boys. I can’t do too much from the back of the field, I’m just trying to stay smooth and consistent and finish safely each day. There’s one more day to go, so the goal, as always, is to keep it on two wheels and make it to the end.”

Photo Rally Rider of Toby Price on stage four of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Toby Price continues to recover from his mechanical dramas and is ninth in the overall standings.

As the action concludes in Argentina, riders prepare to push in the final stage, covering 305 kilometers of liaison and 258 kilometers of Special Stage between Belén and Salta. The terrain will predominantly feature gravel and sand tracks, setting the stage for a gripping finale.

Provisional Results – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40, Stage 4
1 Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 2:53:57
2 Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 2:54:33 +0:36
3 Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 2:55:43 +1:46
4 Michael Docherty (ZAF), KTM, 2:57:17 +3:20
5 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:58:37 +4:40

Provisional Standings – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 (after 4 of 5 stages)
1 Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 13:15:26
2 Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 13:21:13 +5:47
3 Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 13:38:39 +23:13
4 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 13:44:49 +29:23
5 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 13:47:54 +32:28
9 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 14:41:17 +1:25:51

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