With just one stage remaining in the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina, the overall winner is still very much in doubt with stage victory today going to KTM’s Chaleco Lopez. With just tomorrow’s stage left, Lopez leads Honda’s Helder Rodrigues by just a minute.
It was also a good day for KTM’s Kurt Caselli, the Californian finishing second in the stage to sit third overall heading into tomorrow’s finale. Thursday’s stage winner Marc Coma, meanwhile, finished fourth today.
On their way from Chicelito to San Juan, riders again faced cancellation of part of the timed special, which was slated to be 455.74 km in two sections linked with a neutral section but in the end the only raced the second part. All that is now left is a loop section on Saturday, which takes riders out of San Juan and back in again. The timed special is just 146.23 km and should be close.
“Today's was a very fast stage and our bike didn't have the same advantage as on other stages, but I pushed hard the whole time and I'm happy with the result,” Rodrigues said. “Tomorrow could be a photo finish at the end because the guys at the front are so close together. I will give everything I can.”
Coma, meanwhile, said he was happy with his ride as he continues to fight back from the fuel-line problem that robbed him of a good result on Wednesday.
“Today went quite okay and even though I had to open the track we defended pretty well,” Coma said, adding that organizers had decided to cancel the first part of the stage for quads and bike, largely because of freezing temperatures. “We had to climb to 3100 meters and first thing this morning it was predicted that 1000 meters of that would be in freezing conditions.”