Rallye

Tosha Schareina Takes Desafío Ruta 40 Penultimate Stage Win, Brabec Still Leads

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Photo of Tosha Schareina at the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40 rally
Tosha Schereina took his second stage win of the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40.

Stage four of the Desafío Ruta 40 was another long day for the riders with Tosha Schareina going on the attack to take victory in an epic battle between Honda teammates Dakar winner Ricky Brabec and Adrien Van Beveren.

Starting off with a dune section, a favourite of the riders, the stage took in chotts, tarmac, and a river section to then finish off with a gravel track heading into the final bivouac of the rally at La Rioja.

The day began with Adrien Van Beveren looking to cut his 3’38” time difference to leader Ricky Brabec on the 280km stage and that he did quickly as he took the lead by the first waypoint. Brabec though had other ideas, despite having the arduous task of leaving the start line first. With arm pump issues for Van Beveren that led to the American clocking the fastest time 88km in but this time he had another Monster Energy Honda Team rider to contend with in the form of Tosha Schareina. Brabec kept him at bay for the majority of the stage but a determined Schareina, who was looking to add to his prologue win, managed to reduce a 55 second gap right down to 7 seconds.

With a 110km road transfer to break up the timed section, they were back on the gas for a final 100km dash to the finish with just one second separating them at the final time split. Come the finish there were just seven seconds splitting them as Schareina notched up his sixth World Rally-Raid Championship stage win.

“Today was so hard again but the positive was a first stage victory for me at this rally. I tried to push in the first part as Ricky was opening the stage but he was super fast again, so I tried to push again after the refuelling to close the seven second gap. Tomorrow is the final push for the win,” Schareina said.

Photo of Ricky Brabec at the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40 rally
Ricky Brabec holds a slender 1.27 second lead in the overall standings going into the final stage tomorrow.

As they head into the final day tomorrow, Schareina will have to not only make up nearly a minute and a half on Brabec to take a second consecutive Desafío Ruta 40 win but he’ll also have to open the stage, something that may hand the American rider an advantage.

“It was the second special of the rally I opened so I think that’s about 700km opening the Desafío Ruta 40, but it was fun today,” Brabec said. “We started out in the stones then got to the sand section, which for me is like home so I was really confident and comfortable in this terrain on the special. Just before the transfer there was a fast lake bed chott and navigation got tricky there for a moment but I just stayed calm to navigate through it and get to the transfer. There’s been a back and forth battle between myself and Tosha all day which has been really cool, so this has made the rally really interesting.”

Photo of Adrien Van Beveren at the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40 rally
Adrien Van Beveren’s third helped Honda to another podium sweep.

Adrien Van Beveren helped the team to another Honda 1-2-3, finishing just 57 seconds back as he made up time towards the end of the stage to cement his third position in the overall standings.

“It was a really good rally stage again, we had a lot of sandy tracks at the beginning which I enjoyed a lot,” Van Beveren said. “I pushed hard but got some arm pump so tried to relax and get myself back in the rhythm. I was not slow today but Ricky and Tosha were pushing hard and I realised when I was at the neutralisation point that I was losing time to them. I pushed in the last 100km and although I couldn’t make back all the time I’m happy with how the rally is going and enjoyed riding on the different terrain today.”

Photo of Ross Branch at the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40 rally
Hero’s Ross Branch had another consistent stage and is the first non Honda rider in fifth in the general overall.

The quite acheiver of the Rally Ross Branch came home fourth fastest and remains fifth overall, twelve minutes down on leader Brabec.

“It was a really long day on the bike, but I enjoyed it! It had a bit of everything – rocks, sand, and much more. I lost a bit of time, not too sure where, but we’ve got one more day to try. Looking forward to the last Stage!” Branch said.

Skyler Howes finished the day four minutes down in fifth due to a couple of mistakes and sixth placed Pablo Quintanilla fell victim to a navigation error which took him off piste costing him valuable time too.

Photo of Daniel Sanders at the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40 rally
Daniel Sanders was docked 6 minutes for speeding and was officially 11th on stage, he maintains his eighth place in the overall standings.

Daniel Sanders welcomed a change in terrain from previous days. Making up time as the day went on, the Aussie found his rhythm and enjoyed a relatively straightforward day. Initially posting the seventh-fastest time, a six-minute speeding penalty demoted him to eleventh place. With one day left to contest he keeps his spot in eighth overall.

“Today was a really interesting day, the terrain this morning was all sand which I’m normally quite comfortable with but I couldn’t get the speed initially,” Sanders explained. “Also, the cold temperatures caused a lot of mist which made everything that little bit more difficult. I survived though, pushed on as much as I could and tried not to lose too much time. The last half of the stage was completely different and a lot faster. A long day on the bike overall, but I enjoyed it and I’m ready to take on the last day tomorrow.”

Toby Hederics was thirteenth on stage.

“Another big day today nearly 700km total. Had a steady pace going all day with no navigation mistakes and keeping in touch with the bikes in front. Ready for the final stage tomorrow,” Hederics said.

Tomorrow’s final stage will head from La Rioja to Córdoba where the rally started last weekend with a 218km stage that will dictate who the winner of the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40 will be.

Photo of Toby Hederics at the 2024 Desafío Ruta 40 rally
Aussie Toby Hederics had a good stage with the thirteenth fastest time.

STAGE REPORTS:
Prologue Report:
Stage 1: Report
Stage 2: Report
Stage 3: Report

Full Overall Results Can Be Found Here

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