KTM RIDERS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE TOUGH DAY THREE AT 2018 DESAFIO RUTA 40
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo of Toby Price and Matthias Walkner have successfully completed a troublesome stage three of the 2018 Desafio Ruta 40 in fourth and seventh places respectively. Despite a small crash, KTM Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides enjoyed his best ride of the event placing fifth overall.
Day three of the Desafio Ruta 40 took riders on a loop north of Tinogasta, a city lying in the west of the Catamarca region. With an altitude of 1,500m and mixed terrain of camel grass, sand dunes and hard-pack tracks, the stage tested the riders’ fitness and navigation skills. Originally set at 258.78km, the day’s timed special was cut short at checkpoint three due to an issue with the GPS systems losing signal.
Following his win on Tuesday’s stage two, Toby Price was the first rider into the timed special. Faced with the difficult task of opening the course for the other riders Toby rode well. Despite being caught by his rivals on the stage, the Australian still maintained a strong pace to ultimately finish fourth.
Toby Price: “Today went well, I tried to keep to a good consistent pace without making any major mistakes and managed to do just that. We got to the 145km mark and all the bikes lost GPS signal, meaning that the stage had to be stopped at CP3. Up to that point I was happy with how things were going. The guys behind caught me so I knew I was a few minutes behind, but apart from a couple of little mistakes the day was good. I have got a nice start position for tomorrow’s stage, which looks like it’s going to be another long and tough one. Hopefully I can claw back a little more time.”
Luciano Benavides, riding his home event, continues to improve and become more familiar with his KTM 450 RALLY. The 23-year-old rider placed fifth on the stage, less than one minute behind Price. The result secures his fifth position in the provisional overall standings with two days left to race.
Luciano Benavides: “Stage three has been really good for me. With my confidence growing, I started more motivated that the previous days. I really enjoyed the stage, it was certainly nicer to ride than yesterday and my navigation was good throughout. I did have a small crash just before the last checkpoint – I hit my knee on the handlebar - and from there I eased off the pace a little so as not to make any more mistakes or crash again. Overall though, everything went well and I am really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Placing seventh at the end of today’s stage, Matthias Walkner unfortunately lost some time in the dunes causing him to fall behind the leading group of riders. Despite the setback, the 2018 Dakar Rally champion still crossed the line just 30 seconds behind team-mate Benavides.
Matthias Walkner: “Things were going well at the beginning of the stage today, I was able to catch Toby and we rode together for a while. Although the navigation was still tricky, the terrain was a little easier to ride than yesterday - we had a lot more tracks to follow too. With 15km left to the finish I got stuck in one of the big dunes and had some trouble getting going again so lost a little time. It’s frustrating because if the stage had continued to the full distance I would have had a good chance to catch up with the guys in front. Unfortunately, it was cut short and I ended up finishing a few minutes back.”
The 514.43km day four of the rally includes a 357.55km timed special, the longest of the event. Competitors will leave the city of Tinogasta and head south to Villa Union, a small city located at the foothills of the Andes mountains.
Results - Stage 3 2018 Desafio Ruta 40
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 2:04:38
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 2:07:32 +2:54
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 2:09:48 +5:10
4. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:13:18 +8:40
5. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:13:18 +9:19
7. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 2:14:13 +9:35
9. Daniel Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 2:22:06 +17:28
10. Walter Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 2:35:59 +31:21
Provisional Standings – 2018 Desafio Ruta 40 Rally after 3 of 5 stages
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 10:37:17
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 10:38:30 +1:13
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 10:42:55 +5:38
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 10:46:09 +8:52
5. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 11:13:33 +36:16
8. Daniel Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 12:00:00 +1:22:43
9. Walter Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 13:22:45 +2:55:28