HRC Honda Cruising Along At Desafi Ruta Rally

Cycle News Staff | June 22, 2016

Kevin Benavides claimed the victory in the fourth stage of the Desafío Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina today. The Argentine rider takes the baton from his teammate at the head of the standings, with the Spaniard finishing second, with just one day to go. HRC held the top four places.

Kevin Benavides
Honda’s Kevin Benavides took the win in Stage 4 at the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina.

Another day – another excellent stage for Team HRC at the Desafío Ruta 40, where the four factory riders aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLYs proved to be the fastest over the 435 km of timed special.

Yesterday’s final results were later revised by race authorities after the race times were shortened after a confusing error had been signaled in the roadbook. This benefited Benavides who regained 14 seconds that he had originally thought to have dropped.

An attack today by Benavides took the rider, who hails from Salta, to the top of the overall leader board. Even though the Spaniard had opened the track from the start of the timed section, Kevin Benavides was able to pull back 1’20” to take overall first place some 23 seconds ahead of Joan Barreda. Tomorrow an attack from the Spaniard can be expected.

Paulo Gonçalves kept up a fast pace in the second half of the special after having preferred to play it safe in the earlier heavily-potholed stretches of the race. The Portuguese came home 7’11 adrift of Benavides and sits in third overall. Michael Metge today had his best stage of the Desafío Ruta 40 so far, finishing in fourth and moving up to a matching position in the general rankings.

Kevin Benavides
Benavides is also leading the race in the overall standings. HRC Honda riders hold the top four positions.

The final stage of the Desafío Ruta 40 finishes up in La Rioja tomorrow. This will be a short special stage of 177.14 km, although riders will have to complete a total of 475.49 km including the liaison section, to finish the total of 2887.23 km that the rally will have covered in the 2016 edition.

“I won the fourth stage! I’m really happy,” Benavides said. “In the beginning there was a part in the dunes and a salt-flat crossing with difficult navigation. To finish, there were mountain tracks and very fast track. I felt very comfortable on the bike and was able to cut the gap with Joan and then win the stage. The most important thing is that I go on learning things and that we do some good teamwork. Tomorrow is the final day and we will try and give it everything.”

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