Kevin Benavides Wins Desafío Ruta 40 Rally
It was pretty much a Honda benefit at the 2016 Desafia Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina, which came to an end today, with Honda HRC Team riders – Kevin Benavides, Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves – making up the podium.
On day one the Honda CRF450 RALLY riders occupied the top four places and subsequently held on to them throughout the entire Desafío Ruta 40.
Benavides clinched the final stage victory today. This was the Argentine’s third stage win. Benavides managed to keep the attacks from teammate Joan Barreda contained to grab the overall victory. This is the first triumph for Benavides in the Ruta 40 and the second win this year after the success in the Merzouga Rally in May.
It wasn’t the best day for Barreda, eager to make up the 23 second deficit with the race leader. However, the dust raised by Benavides in front led to the Spanish rider over-running a curve and ditching the bike on a slope. Fortunately for him, teammate Gonçalves was at hand to help get the bike back on track and allow Barrreda to finish the special stage.
It was indeed Gonçalves who posted the day’s second fastest time in the closing stage of the Desafío Ruta 40, to consolidate his third place final podium finish. Michael Metge continued to regain momentum after the opening day’s mishap, taking the fourth fastest time, as the race wound up in La Rioja, with fifth in the overall rankings.
Honda South America Rally Team riders Franco Caimi and Javier Pizzolito concluded a satisfactory rally. Caimi, on his first outing here, finished with an overall fourth place and Pizzolito, who experienced an electrical fault on the third day, took ninth spot in the final standings.
“I’m really pleased; really happy,” said Benavides. “Joan and I were very close with only 23 seconds separating us. To have someone like Barreda behind is an added pressure. I knew that I had to give it 100%. I went very fast, trying not to make any mistakes and luckily, everything turned out great. I wish to thank HRC, Honda South America, the team mechanics and all the people who have supported us and all those who have greeted us via social media. Thanks to everyone.”