Rallye

Tosha Schareina’s Dominance Continues At 2023 Desafío Ruta 40 With Stage Three Win

Author: Garry Morrow

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Photo Rally Rider of Tosha Schareina on stage three of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Tosha Schareina took his third stage win and remains undefeated with two stages remaining.

Tosha Schareina is still leading the way in the 2023 Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina after conquering stage three, the Spaniard achieving his third consecutive stage victory, maintaining his undefeated streak.

Thanks to the time bonus he earned for leading out on each stage, Schareina once again secured the fastest time. He now holds a commanding lead of 6 minutes and 23 seconds over Argentinean Luciano Benavides in the overall standings. Benavides is also the leading rider in the World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC), while Ricky Brabec secured the third position.

Stage three was all about sand. The looped special, which began and ended in Belén, presented a challenging route mostly consisting of sandy tracks with a few sections of dunes. The stage was relatively short but demanding, requiring precise navigation from all riders.

Photo Rally Rider of Luciano Benavides on stage three of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Luciano Benavides logged his third second place in a row to maintain the same position in the overall rankings. Photo: Cin Cin Movies

Luciano Benavides delivered another strong and smooth performance on his home turf securing his third consecutive second-place stage result. As the rally has now crossed its halfway mark, Benavides stands second overall, trailing the provisional leader Schareina by just over six minutes.

“I gave it my all today,” Benavides shared. “The navigation was more challenging compared to the first two stages, but I believe I navigated well with minimal errors. The stage was quite fast, featuring riverbeds and pistes, with only a few sections of dunes. Overall, I feel confident – my position in the overall standings is good. If I can maintain this pace, it will be beneficial for the world championship. There’s still a long way to go, so I’ll stay focused and give my best for the rest of the rally.”

Photo Rally Rider of Ricky Brabec on stage three of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Third on stage Ricky Brabec has now moved up to third in the overall rankings.

Ricky Brabec moved up to third place in the standings with his third-place finish on the stage.

“The stage was good; it started out more physically than the others which is nice because it was chilly this morning so we were able to get warmed up pretty quick,” Brabec commented at the end of the stage. “This stage was really fast, a lot faster than I remember so it looks like we won the stage but then the bonus time kicked in and I think I am still third. I am feeling good. I am already looking forward to going home, it’s two more days and we will be out of here. The goal is to go back in one piece!”

Photo Rally Rider of Ross Branch on stage three of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Botswanan Ross Branch pushed to maintain a steady flow, and his consistent finish of fourth today inches him closer to the overall rally podium – just 30 seconds behind 3rd place.

Ross Branch continued his consistently strong performance by securing fourth place on the stage, maintaining his fourth position in the overall standings, just 30 seconds behind Ricky Brabec in third.

“Stage 3 was a really strange day for me. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ridden at around 3000 metres above sea level, and it was nothing like I imagined so far, Branch recalled. “It was really interesting to be up there experiencing the loss of power on the bike, difficulty in breathing, and more. Anyhow, I’m glad to be back in the bivouac in one piece with a good result, and am looking forward to the rest of the rally.”

Toby Price rebounded from a challenging day two to claim the fifth-fastest time in the 265-kilometer timed special of stage three. His performance moved him up from 18th to 13th place overall, with two days left in the competition.

After facing technical issues on stage two, which caused him to lose over an hour to his competitors, Price was in catch-up mode. Starting as the 10th rider in the special, chasing down those ahead was no easy task. Nonetheless, the 36-year-old focused on delivering a solid performance and effective navigation.

“The stage was good,” Price reflected. “Around kilometer 68, I had to fight to stay on two wheels. My main goal now is to avoid injuries. Navigation was a bit tough due to the limited lines on the ground, but I’m here in one piece. Yesterday was one of those tough days. Motorsport can be harsh at times, and that was my day. My bike must have run over a black cat or gone under a ladder or something like that. It’s just not my time right now. Anyway, we’re injury-free, which is what matters most, and I’ll stay on two wheels. I think my chances in the championship are pretty much done today. I’ll hold onto that 1% and give my all till the end in Morocco. It’s great to be back here in Argentina – it’s been a while. Seeing the fans and people on the sides of the road is a big bonus.”

After a promising start, defending World Champion Sam Sunderland had to withdraw from the event due to an energy-draining illness. Despite his efforts to complete the stage, he made the tough call to end his participation at the halfway point, sadly the Brit has yet to finish a Rally this year.

Tomorrow’s race will repeat the same circuit as today, starting and finishing in Belén. The day will involve 234 kilometers of liaison and a 345-kilometer Special Stage. The fourth and penultimate stage will once again feature a mix of gravel, sandy tracks, and dunes.

Photo Rally Rider of Toby Price on stage three of the 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina
Fifth on stage, Toby Price rebounded from his stage two problems to move up from 18th to 13th place overall, with two days left in the competition. Photo: Cin Cin Movies

Provisional Results – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40, Stage 3
1 Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 2:58:13
2 Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 2:59:53 +1:40
3 Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:00:05 +1:52
4 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:06:11 +7:58
5 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:08:13 +10:00

Provisional Standings – 2023 Desafio Ruta 40 (after 3 of 5 stages)
1 Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 10:20:53
2 Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 10:27:16 +6:23
3 Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 10:42:56 +22:03
4 Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 10:43:29 +22:36
5 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 10:44:55 +24:02
13 Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 11:42:40 +1:21:47

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