Rallye

Tosha Schareina Secures 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 Victory As Luciano Benavides Takes Over Championship Lead

Author: Garry Morrow

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Photo Rally Rider of Tosha Schareina on stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Spaniard Tosha Schareina was a surprise packet winning three of the five stages to take the victory in the 2023 2023 Desafio Ruta 40.

The Desafio Ruta 40, the fourth leg of the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, concluded today in Salta, Argentina, with Spaniard Tosha Schareina clinching the Overall race win, while Adrien Van Beveren emerged victorious in the final stage.

Stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 proved to be yet another demanding but swift day for all riders. Commencing with an off-trail riverbed section, the course transitioned to rocky tracks on its northward journey from Belen to Salta. While navigation presented fewer challenges compared to previous days, competitors remained focused throughout the 258 kilometer timed special stage that determined the final standings.

Tosha Schareina showcased dominant performance in the bike category, leading from the start and securing victory. From a surprising win on the first stage to consistent performances in the subsequent days, Schareina managed the race, finishing with an impressive 11:36 lead over Luciano Benavides in the Overall standings.

Photo Rally Rider of Tosha Schareina on stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Spaniard Tosha Schareina was a surprise packet winning 3 of the five stages to take the victory in the 2023 2023 Desafio Ruta 40.

Schareina expressed his satisfaction, stating, “I’m proud to be here in Argentina, and there’s nothing better than winning in my first appearance. The support from the fans has been incredible. It’s been a comprehensive race, and until the last moment, we weren’t certain about the outcome. I had to stay focused, and I did.”

Photo Rally Rider of Luciano Benavides on stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
With Toby Price’s mechanical woes, Luciano Benavides has now assumed the lead of the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship after a strong second place overall in the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40.

Luciano Benavides claimed the second overall position at his home event. His consistent performance over the five days earned him the top spot among the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship competitors, securing 25 crucial points. With this achievement, Benavides now leads the series standings by a nine-point margin, with one round left to compete.

After achieving three consecutive second-place stage finishes followed by a stage win on day four, Benavides adopted a solid and cautious approach on the final special stage. Opting to avoid last-minute errors, the 28-year-old finished ninth, securing his overall runner-up position and first place in the W2RC World Championship rankings.

Benavides commented, “I’m really thrilled. This race in Argentina has been amazing, and finishing as the world championship leader is truly incredible. Now it’s time to celebrate a bit, take a few days of rest, and then focus entirely on Morocco. I want to perform well there and aim for the world champion title. The fans here have been fantastic, especially during the final stage where their support was amazing. I’d love to reward them by winning the world title.”

Photo Rally Rider of Ricky Brabec on stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Ricky Brabec, who was not a fan of the time bonus system, hunkered down with a workman-like effort to round the rally out in a respectable third place overall after finishing the final stage in the same position.

American Ricky Brabec, despite a two-minute penalty, finished third on the stage and maintained the same position in the overall rankings. Reflecting on the rally, the Dakar winner said, “We’ve completed the rally, and it was a good week, with a challenging start but we fought through it to finish Ruta 40. It feels great to be back in South America, and after this week, I’m looking forward to returning next year. Today’s stage was close, and I almost won, but then I received a penalty.”

Ross Branch secured the second position on the final stage, marking his best finish of the five stages. This achievement placed the Botswanan rider in a respectable fourth place overall in the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40.

“It’s my first time here in Argentina, and what a fantastic experience it has been!” Branch enthused. “All the new landscapes, the altitudes, the temperatures were all crazy – but I really enjoyed it. It was a really tough 5 days of testing our limits, but I’m happy to reach the finish line in one piece. My Hero 450 Rally ran amazingly well through the week, and I extend my hearty thanks to the team for their tireless efforts. I’m looking forward to racing in Morocco in a month’s time – see you soon!”

Photo Rally Rider of Adrien Van Beveren on stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
The win on the final stage elevated Adrien Van Beveren to fifth in the overall final standings and third in the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship standings.

Adrien Van Beveren, the winner of the final stage, rounded out the top five overall result, capping off a consistent and strong week for the Frenchman. He now occupies the third spot in the championship standings.

Van Beveren commented, “Today was a better day for me. The first part was rocky, and I played it safe. In the second part, I pushed hard, almost like a WRC track, similar to Andalucia. Winning the stage means I’m not going home empty-handed. It’s good! Now, let’s focus on Morocco and the possibility of winning the title.”

Photo Rally Rider of Toby Price on stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Despite the heartbreak of a rear shock costing him the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship lead, Aussie Toby Price was all smiles as usual. Photo: Cin Cin Movies

Australian Toby Price secured fourth place on the final stage. Despite a challenging start, including a broken shock that cost him an hour, the two-time Dakar winner fought back to finish ninth overall, earning nine valuable FIM World Rally-Raid Championship points. This result sees him drop to second in the standings, having entered the event with a comfortable lead.

Price remarked, “I’m happy to have completed the race without any major issues, but day two set us back significantly. Unfortunately, it may have affected our championship chances. We have to accept it and focus on the next round. There’s still a chance, and I’ll give my all in Morocco, but it’s frustrating for now.”

Rally2 rider Bradley Cox from South Africa once again showcased impressive skills against the top-class (Rally GP) riders, finishing fifth on the final stage.

The action in the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship will continue at the series’ final round, the Rallye du Maroc, scheduled to be held in Morocco from October 12 to 18.

Photo Rally Rider of Bradley Cox on stage five of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
South African privateer Bradley Cox impressed with fifth on the final stage.

Provisional Results – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40, Stage 5
1 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 2:39:44
2 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 2:40:42 +0:58
3 Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 2:41:23 +1:39
4 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:42:43 +2:59
5 Bradley Cox (ZAF), KTM, 2:43:19 +3:35

Provisional Standings – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 (after 5 of 5 stages)
1 Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 15:58:46
2 Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 16:10:22 +11:36
3 Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 16:20:02 +21:16
4 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 16:25:31 +26:45
5 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 16:27:38 +28:52
9 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 17:24:00 +1:25:14

Provisional Standings 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship (after 4 of 5 rounds)
1 Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 80 points
2 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 71 points
3 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 66 points
4 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 45 points
5 Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 43 points

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