Monday, April 15, 2024

2023 Desafio Ruta 40: Gustavo Gallego survives in T4

With T4 points leader Rokas Baciuška sitting out the Desafío Ruta 40, all Shinsuke Umeda needed to do was start and finish the race to attain fifty points towards the World Rally-Raid Championship. Even if he ended up finishing last, simply completing the race earned him maximum points.

Umeda was one of just four drivers competing in Argentina in the production SSV class, and the only entry competing for the W2RC. While the smallest FIA class in the field, it was not devoid of drama as everyone but Gustavo Gallego either suffered a stage retirement or a major mid-race setback. Drivers who fail to finish a stage but are able to continue the rally are subject to substantial time penalties that eliminate them from overall contention.

Gallego and Enrico Gaspari avoided retiring from stages and therefore comprised the top two overall. Still, the margin of victory was over four hours as a mechanical issue in Stage #2 caused Gaspari to fall two hours behind, and another failure occurred in the final ten kilometres of Stage #5 that led to him finishing forty-eight minutes back.

Although he is not racing for points, Gallego still notched his first international rally raid victory in an SSV. The 2017 Argentine Cross-Country Rally Champion previously ran the Dakar Rally on a quad and finished third overall in the 2019 edition. Incidentally, that year’s Dakar Quad winner Nicolás Cavigliasso also competed in an SSV at the DR 40, albeit in the T3 class and showed speed despite being hampered by mechanical problems.

Eduard Pons was the top driver in the first half as he won the Prologue and opening pair of stages, only for his overall hopes to end by retiring with a broken tie rod just forty-three kilometres into Stage #3. He recovered by winning Stage #4 and a recorded a second-place finish to Gallego on the last day. His final time of 38:07:25 was over nineteen and a half hours behind Gallego.

Pons’ co-driver Jaume Betriu, an eight-time Spanish Enduro Champion, is now two-for-two in T4 class podiums after finishing second in CERTT and third among FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas entrants in his maiden race at the Baja España Aragón in July.

“The accumulated experience in the South American country will be of great help for the following challenges,” said Pons. “The toughness of the Argentine race brought out the best in us and we were able to see how well we understood each other on board the Can-Am.”

Umeda’s race literally came crashing down in the penultimate stage when he made an error and rolled down a large dune in the Fiambalá area. He had been second overall entering the day, but the crash ultimately left him off the overall podium though he was eventually rescued and reached the finish.

Although at the back end of the quartet, completing the race nonetheless earned Umeda the class win in the W2RC. Baciuška still has his second straight championship all but ensured, while Umeda finally moves past Dakar Rally winner Eryk Goczał—who has not raced in the W2RC since due to university—for second and is sixty points back.

T4 overall results

Finish Overall Finish Number Driver Co-Driver Team Time Margin
1 12 403 Gustavo Gallego* Eugenio Arrieta South Racing Can-Am 18:34:37 Leader
2 14 401 Enrico Gaspari* Ricardo Torlaschi Xtremeplus 22:41:26 + 4:06:49
3 21 402 Eduard Pons* Jaume Betriu South Racing Can-Am 38:07:25 19:32:48
4 23 400 Shinsuke Umeda Maurizio Dominella Xtremeplus 41:48:02 + 23:13:25
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

T4 stage winners

Stage Driver Time
Prologue Eduard Pons* 7:37
Stage #1 Eduard Pons* 3:30:25
Stage #2 Eduard Pons* 4:07:18
Stage #3 Gustavo Gallego* 3:38:50
Stage #4 Eduard Pons* 3:30:31
Stage #5 Gustavo Gallego* 3:09:14

Overall winners

Class Number Competitor Team Time
T1 200 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing 15:10:03
T3 302 Mitch Guthrie Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team 16:22:31
T4 403 Gustavo Gallego* South Racing Can-Am 18:34:37
RallyGP 68 Tosha Schareina* Honda Team 15:58:46
Rally2 21 Bradley Cox BAS World KTM Racing Team 17:01:01
Rally3 122 Ardit Kurtaj Xraids Experience 23:15:45
Quad 152 Manuel Andújar 7240 Team 19:24:30
Open Auto 650 Blas Zapag* Copetrol Rally 23:06:34
Open T3 670 Jeremías Gonzalez Ferioli* Ferioli Racing Team 17:34:31
Open T4 678 Juan Jose Semino* Xcorpion Rally Racing 20:59:00
Open Moto 608 Rodrigo de Abreu Sallum* MED Racing Team 22:36:24
Open Quad 623 Santiago Rostan* Pampa Rental Rally Team 25:28:33

W2RC T4 standings

Drivers’ standings

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Rokas Baciuška 189 Leader
2 Shinsuke Umeda 129 – 60
3 Eryk Goczał 86 – 103
4 Pau Navarro 73 – 116
5 Marek Goczał 67 – 122
6 Michal Goczał 50 – 139
7 Rebecca Busi 45 – 144
8 Yasir Seaidan 35 – 154
9 Bruno Conti de Oliveira 30 – 159
T-10 Sebastián Guayasamin 27 – 162
T-10 Rodrigo Luppi de Oliveira 27 – 162
12 Molly Taylor 20 – 169
13 Nicolás Cavigliasso 13 – 176
Michele Cinotto 0 – 189

Co-drivers’ standings

Some co-drivers have worked with drivers in other categories. Those do not count for this championship nor are they mentioned below.

Rank Co-Driver Driver Points Margin
1 Oriol Vidal Montijano Rokas Baciuška 189 Leader
2 Oriol Mena Eryk Goczał 86 – 103
3 Aku Facundo Jaton Shinsuke Umeda 79 – 110
4 Maciej Marton Marek Goczał 67 – 122
T-5 Szymon Gospodarczyk Michal Goczał 50 – 139
T-5 Maurizio Dominella Shinsuke Umeda 50 – 139
T-7 François Cazalet Pau Navarro 45 – 144
T-7 Sébastien Delaunay Rebecca Busi 45 – 144
9 Alexey Kuzmich Yasir Seaidan 35 – 154
10 Pedro Bianchi Prata Bruno Conti de Oliveira 30 – 159
11 Michaël Metge Pau Navarro 28 – 161
T-12 Ricardo Torlaschi Sebastián Guayasamin 27 – 162
T-12 Maykel Justo Rodrigo Luppi de Oliveira 27 – 162
14 Andrew Short Molly Taylor 20 – 169
15 Valentina Peregarini Nicolás Cavigliasso 13 – 176