It didn’t take Kurt Caselli long to get the hang of this rally thing.
Caselli started Saturday’s final stage of the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina in third place overall. Then he went out and won the final stage, vaulting himself to the overall victory in what was only his second international rally since making his debut in the Dakar Rally at the end of last year.
After more than 18 hours of racing, Caselli beat his teammate Chaleco Lopez by just 43 seconds. Rally king and World Championship leader Marc Coma finished third overall.
HRC’s Helder Rodrigues was in the hunt for the overall victory on his Honda, but a crash early in the final stage put an end to that. Rodrigues didn’t suffer serious injury but a sore hip kept him from finishing the final stage.
“The team did an amazing job, Marc [Coma] fought back very hard and I am super pumped about how smart [Kurt] Caselli contested the rally,” said team manager Alex Doringer. “With Chaleco on the podium, we see once more that a rally is always decided in the last days and there’s no point in celebrating until our riders are all across the finish line. I’m very happy and we have made a big move toward victory in the World Rally Championship. We again proved who it is that is number one in this sport.”
The rally was not only part of the Dakar Challenge Series, but was also the fourth leg of the six round FIM World Cross Countries Championship of which Coma is not only the title holder but has also won the first three rallies.