desafio ruta

DESAFIO RUTA 40 YPF INFINIA 2024: Down To The Wire

DESAFIO RUTA 40 YPF INFINIA 2024
FIA-FIM WORLD RALLY-RAID CHAMPIONSHIPS
DOWN TO THE WIRE

Key points:

  • The 12th edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF INFINIA drew to a close in Córdoba at the end of a gripping final sprint. The titles were decided by some of the narrowest margins in the history of the rally: 15 seconds in the FIM race and 40 in the FIA one.
  • Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing) took his maiden win in the Argentinian event and opened his account for the season after turning the tables on Nasser Al Attiyah (Nasser Racing by Prodrive) in the final kilometres. Sebastián Halpern (X-raid Mini JCW) scored a podium finish on home soil. The Saudi is now 25 points behind the Qatari in the championship. Lucas Moraes (Toyota Gazoo Racing), fifth here, is third at 53 points.
  • Rokas Baciuška (Can-Am Factory) claimed the Challenger trophy ahead of Nicolás Cavigliasso (Taurus Factory by Wevers) and Dania Akeel (BBR). The Lithuanian extended his championship lead over the Argentinian and Marcelo Gastaldi (BBR).
  • The withdrawal of the championship leader, Yasir Seaidan (MMP) has upped the ante in the SSV competition. Ricardo Ramilo (Scuderia Ramilo) bagged the race ahead of Sebastián Guayasamín (BE Racing) and Rebecca Busi (OnlyFans Racing). Guayasamín soared to the top of the W2RC, where he now leads the Saudi and the winner in Argentina.
  • A red tide swept the Rally GP class at the Ruta 40 this week. Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda) romped home with a handful of seconds to spare over his teammate Tosha Schareina and Adrien Van Beveren. Ross Branch came in fifth, behind Skyler Howes, to retain his championship lead. The Hero MotoSports factory rider now has 72 points to Brabec’s 63 and VBA’s 56.
  • In Rally 2, Romain Dumontier wrung every ounce of performance out of his new Honda and did his part for a historic double for HRC. The championship leader took the spoils ahead of Bradley Cox (BAS World KTM Racing) and padded his lead over the South African. In Rally 3, John Medina (Xraids Experience) won the race and seized the lead in the category. In the quad class, Manuel Andújar defended his title in Argentina and sewed up the World Cup before the final round.
  • The final round of season 3 of the championship will be the Rallye du Maroc, scheduled from 5 to 11 October. 

FIM: CAPTAIN BRABEC IS BACK!

Ricky Brabec already proved that he can handle the pressure when he won the Dakar in 2020 and 2024. This time round, he faced a threat from inside his own clan. Going into the final stage with a deficit of 1′27″, Tosha Schareina was determined to overthrow his teammate from the throne. The Spaniard gave the American no respite and came within 22 seconds of the lead after 117 km out of 218. However, even winning the last special was not enough. Brabec stayed cool as a cucumber to succeed the Spaniard on the honour roll of the Desafío Ruta 40, crossing the line with a margin of 15 seconds —the narrowest ever recorded in a W2RC Rally GP race. Adrien Van Beveren made it a Honda clean sweep on the podium (see “FIM stat”). Skyler Howes came in fourth, while Ross Branch was the top-ranked non-Honda rider in fifth place.

The Botswanan is still the super-Hero of the championship, but the Argentinian leg has shaken up the fight for the title. Brabec moved within 9 points of Branch going into the finale thanks to his second victory of the year. VBA is still in with a shout at 16 points. A three-way fight looms in Morocco in October, where the last 25 points of the season —which will decide the title— are up for grabs.

Bradley Cox came up short in the Rally 2 overall, but he still mustered his strength to snatch the final stage from Romain Dumontier. The Frenchman won the rally and did his bit for Honda’s first ever Rally GP/Rally 2 double, as well as extending his championship lead to 8 points over the South African. The title will be decided in Morocco. Jiří Brož (BAS World KTM Racing) scored his first W2RC podium finish in third place.

Chile’s John Medina nabbed his first win in Rally 3, standing atop an all-South American podium with the Argentinians Eduardo Alan and Marcelo Miti (MED Racing Team) on either side, He also vaulted into the championship lead with 13 points in hand over Gonçalo Amaral.

Manuel Andújar made his dream come true in the quad race. The Argentinian rider took his second DR40 on the bounce and secured the W2RC World Cup with one round to go. He prevailed over the Pole Kamil Wiśniewski (Orlen Team), the new runner-up in the championship, and the Bolivian Suany Martinez.

FIM: CAPTAIN BRABEC IS BACK!

Ricky Brabec already proved that he can handle the pressure when he won the Dakar in 2020 and 2024. This time round, he faced a threat from inside his own clan. Going into the final stage with a deficit of 1′27″, Tosha Schareina was determined to overthrow his teammate from the throne. The Spaniard gave the American no respite and came within 22 seconds of the lead after 117 km out of 218. However, even winning the last special was not enough. Brabec stayed cool as a cucumber to succeed the Spaniard on the honour roll of the Desafío Ruta 40, crossing the line with a margin of 15 seconds —the narrowest ever recorded in a W2RC Rally GP race. Adrien Van Beveren made it a Honda clean sweep on the podium (see “FIM stat”). Skyler Howes came in fourth, while Ross Branch was the top-ranked non-Honda rider in fifth place.

The Botswanan is still the super-Hero of the championship, but the Argentinian leg has shaken up the fight for the title. Brabec moved within 9 points of Branch going into the finale thanks to his second victory of the year. VBA is still in with a shout at 16 points. A three-way fight looms in Morocco in October, where the last 25 points of the season —which will decide the title— are up for grabs.

Bradley Cox came up short in the Rally 2 overall, but he still mustered his strength to snatch the final stage from Romain Dumontier. The Frenchman won the rally and did his bit for Honda’s first ever Rally GP/Rally 2 double, as well as extending his championship lead to 8 points over the South African. The title will be decided in Morocco. Jiří Brož (BAS World KTM Racing) scored his first W2RC podium finish in third place.

Chile’s John Medina nabbed his first win in Rally 3, standing atop an all-South American podium with the Argentinians Eduardo Alan and Marcelo Miti (MED Racing Team) on either side, He also vaulted into the championship lead with 13 points in hand over Gonçalo Amaral.

Manuel Andújar made his dream come true in the quad race. The Argentinian rider took his second DR40 on the bounce and secured the W2RC World Cup with one round to go. He prevailed over the Pole Kamil Wiśniewski (Orlen Team), the new runner-up in the championship, and the Bolivian Suany Martinez.

FIA: AL RAJHI ADDS SOME SPICE

Yazeed Al Rajhi claimed the final special at the buzzer. The Saudi finished 27 seconds ahead of Nasser Al Attiyah and took victory in the twelfth Desafío Ruta 40 YPF INFINIA by 40 seconds over the Qatari. The Overdrive Racing driver bagged his first win in Argentina and his first triumph of the 2024 world championship, picking up stages 1 and 5 along the way. This is the Saudi’s third W2RC success, coming after the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and Rallye du Maroc. Al Rajhi has finished second at the ADDC and fifth at the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal this season. The Saudi pocketed an extra 12 points for his troubles, bringing his tally to 131, versus 156 for Al Attiyah. The difference between the two-time world champion and his runner-up has narrowed to 25 points.

Just three crews remain in contention for the top FIA prize after the fourth round. A maximum of 55 points are at stake in the Rallye du Maroc, but Nasser Al Attiyah has at least 56 points in hand over the rest of the field, except for Yazeed Al Rajhi and Lucas Moraes. The Saudi, who emerged victorious from the Moroccan race in 2023 and the Argentinian one today, is the main obstacle standing between the two-time world champion —who will be driving a new car— and his coveted hat-trick. Al Attiyah is poised to make his debut in a new Dacia. The lead trio’s navigators are also the contenders for the co-drivers’ title. Édouard Boulanger, who has teamed up with Al Attiyah since the ADDC, is 20 points ahead of Timo Gottschalk, seated to the right of Al Rajhi. Armand Monleón, racing with Moraes, is 48 points back.

Rokas Baciuška claimed his second consecutive win, after Portugal, on his first Ruta 40 try in the Challenger class. The Lithuanian had a shot at securing his third title in a row before the last round, but Nicolás Cavigliasso fought back on home turf and finished 8′49″ back, which puts him 44 points behind the championship leader. Dania Akeel climbed onto the podium in Córdoba, edging out her teammate Marcelo Gastaldi, who is now third in the W2RC, an insurmountable 79 points behind the leader. The co-drivers’ ranking is a mirror image of the drivers’ one. Oriol Mena, who usually navigates for Baciuška, sits second in the championship with 160 points after sitting out this round due to injury. The Argentinian’s right-hand woman, Valentina Pertegarini, seized the lead with 165.

In SSVs, Yasir Seaidan was forced to retire from the race due to a failing turbo in a repeat of his nightmare scenario in Portugal. The Saudi got off to a blistering start to the season, winning the Dakar and ADDC, but now he has gone empty-handed twice in a row. When Seaidan was away, Ricardo Ramilo, Enrico Gaspari (TH-Trucks), Sebastián Guayasamín and Rebecca Busi came out to play. The Spaniard came out on top, followed by the Ecuadorian and Busi, while the other Italian succumbed to a mechanical. Guayasamín is the new championship leader with a mere 6 points in hand over the Saudi and 20 over Ramilo. Busi and Gaspari round out the top 5. The top four drivers can still nurture hopes of taking the title in Morocco in early October, making the SSV class the most open of the FIA competitions.

FIM STAT: AN UNBLEMISHED RECORD

Never before had a manufacturer swept every single FIM special at a W2RC event. Hero MotoSports came close at the 2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, but the Rally 2 rider Michael Docherty and his KTM crashed the Rally GP party in stage 1. Monster Energy Honda completed a whitewash in Argentina. Tosha Schareina (prologue and stages 4 and 5), Ricky Brabec (stages 1 and 3) and Adrien Van Beveren (stage 2) placed a CRF at the apex of each special. Another unprecedented feat was HRC hogging the top 4 overall of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF INFINIA, with Skyler Howes right behind the lead trio. Honda has ousted Hero from the top spot in the manufacturers’ ranking by 22 points with just one round to go. The Japanese brand is targeting its third consecutive win in this competition. Honda clinched its fifth victory in a W2RC round, compared with three for GasGas, two for KTM and one for Hero. Stay tuned!

FIA STAT: TOYOTA PULLS LEVEL WITH MINI

Yazeed Al Rajhi stormed to victory in Córdoba and netted Toyota its fourth triumph in the Ruta 40, adding to the one that went to Nasser Al Attiyah last year and the 2011 and 2016 editions. Toyota has therefore matched Mini’s record. X-raid Team came out on top in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018. Toyota is the first manufacturer to win two editions on the trot. Toyota also seized a booty of 47 points for the manufacturers’ world championship, courtesy of the victor and Lucas Moraes in fifth place. Prodrive had to settle for a total of 25 points earned by Nasser Al Attiyah and Cristian Baumgartand is now second. Thanks to his podium spot, Sebastián Halpern bagged 20 points for X-raid Mini JCW on his own.

DID YOU KNOW? Almost spooky

Ricky Brabec and Yazeed Al Rajhi had several things in common at the finish of the Desafío Ruta 40 YPF INFINIA. The victors of the twelfth edition had never won this race before. Moreover, they are both the ninth different winners in their respective categories! But the coincidences do not end there. They both defeated the 2023 title holders by a tiny margin: Tosha Schareina on two wheels by 15 seconds and Nasser Al Attiyah on four wheels by 40.

2024 WRC podiums following the Desafío Ruta 40 (4/5):

FIM

FIM World Rally-Raid Championship:
1. Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports): 72 points
2. Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda): 63 points (-9)
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda): 56 points (-16)

FIM Rally-Raid World Cup, Rally 2:
1. Romain Dumontier (Team Honda): 83 points
2. Bradley Cox (BAS World KTM Racing): 75 points (-8)
3. Konrad Dąbrowski (Duust Rally Team): 60 points (-23)

FIM Rally-Raid World Cup, Rally 3:
1. John Medina (Xraids Experience): 38 points
2. Gonçalo Amaral: 25 points (-13)
3. Eduardo Alan (MED Racing Team): 20 points (-18)

FIM Rally-Raid World Cup, quads:
1. Manuel Andújar (7240 Team / Dragon Rally Service): 76 points
2. Kamil Wiśniewski (Orlen Team): 45 points (-31)
3. Hani Alnoumesi: 44 points (-32)

FIM World Rally-Raid Championship (manufacturers):
1. Monster Energy Honda Team: 148 points
2. Hero MotoSports Team Rally: 126 points (-22)

FIA

FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (drivers):
1. Nasser Al Attiyah (Nasser Racing by Prodrive): 156 points
2. Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing): 131 points (-25)
3. Lucas Moraes (Toyota Gazoo Racing): 103 points (-53)

FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (co-drivers):
1. Édouard Boulanger (Nasser Racing by Prodrive): 151 points
2. Timo Gottschalk (Overdrive Racing): 131 points (-20)
3. Armand Monleón (Toyota Gazoo Racing): 103 points (-48)

FIA Challenger Rally-Raid Championship (drivers):
1. Rokas Baciuška (Can-Am Factory Team): 209 points
2. Nicolás Cavigliasso (Taurus Factory by Wevers): 165 points (-44)
3. Marcelo Gastaldi (BBR): 130 points (-79)

FIA Challenger Rally-Raid Championship (co-drivers):
1. Valentina Pertegarini (Taurus Factory by Wevers): 165 points
2. Oriol Vidal Montijano (Can-Am Factory Team): 160 points (-5)
3. Carlos Sachs (BBR): 130 points (-35)

FIA SSV Rally-Raid Championship (drivers):
1. Sebastián Guayasamín (BE Racing): 161 points
2. Yasir Seaidan (MMP): 155 points (-6)
3. Ricardo Ramilo (Ramilo Scuderia Rodamoto): 141 points (-20)

FIA SSV Rally-Raid Championship (co-drivers):
1. Fausto Mota (South Racing Can-Am): 172 points
2. Fernando Acosta (BE Racing): 161 points (-11)
3. Sergio Lafuente (OnlyFans Racing): 120 points (-52)

FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (manufacturers):
1. Toyota Gazoo Racing: 190 points
2. Nasser Racing by Prodrive: 145 points (-45)
3. X-raid Mini JCW Team: 97 points (-93)