Saturday, March 2, 2024

2023 Desafio Ruta 40: Manuel Andujar holds off Moreno for Quad victory

The Desafío Ruta 40‘s Quad category had seven times as many entrants as the previous World Rally-Raid Championship round in Sonora four months prior, which makes it ironic that the battle for the win came down to just two riders yet again. Argentinians Manuel Andújar and Francisco Moreno split the five stages, and the former gained the upper hand with three wins en route to the overall victory.

Moreno, who is not competing for the W2RC, fell behind early as he finished eighth and seventeen minutes back in Stage #1 while Andújar drew first blood. He responded by winning the second stage, only to create a pattern of the two trading stage victories.

Entering the fifth and final day, Andújar led Moreno by 11:32 and increased the gap by another 1:35 en route to the win. The victory is a strong rebound for Andújar after being forced to retire from the Dakar Rally with a mechanical failure before a herniated disc sidelined him from riding until May, when he returned to racing in the Campeonato Argentino de Rally y Navegación (CaNav) series.

Marcelo Medeiros provided the next closest competition to the two when he set the fastest time in their class in the Prologue before joining them on the podium in all five stages. His closest shot at interfering with their duel came in Stages #3 and #5 when he finished fifty-two and fifty-one seconds behind Andújar, respectively, but ultimately placed half an hour back due to sixteen- and eighteen-minute deficits in the even-numbered legs.

Rodolfo Guillioli and Juraj Varga, the only other W2RC riders in the class, respectively placed sixth and eighth. Varga, who raced under his own banner but had support from Andújar’s 7240 Team, struggled with mechanical problems throughout the rally’s second half. In Stage #3, his Yamaha Raptor lost power before the oil hose burst as did the air hose thirty kilometres before the finish; electronic issues then plagued him on the fourth and fifth legs. As points-eligible competitors, they joined Andújar on the W2RC podium and received the same honours for finishing second and third.

Quad riders Ayelén Bogado and Suany Martinez were among six women competing in the DR 40. Martinez finished as high as eighth before bowing out on the final day, while Bogado was the final rider to complete the rally.

After finishing fourth in Stage #1, Tobias Carrizo retired three days later due to a rollover.

Following his Dakar retirement and missing the next two races, Andújar’s Argentina win gave him his first W2RC points of the season. Receiving twenty-five points as the overall winner, he is tied with Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge champion Abdulaziz Ahli for fifth. Laisvydas Kancius, who ran the first three rounds and won Sonora before sitting out the DR 40, remains the points leader while Guillioli and Varga move past Pablo Copetti for second and third. Going into the final round in Morocco, Guillioli trails Kancius by sixteen points and Varga does so by twenty-three.

Quad overall results

Finish Number Rider Team Time Margin
1 152 Manuel Andújar 7240 Team 19:24:30 Leader
2 154 Francisco Moreno* Franci Moreno Rally Team 19:37:37 + 13:07
3 179 Marcelo Medeiros* Taguatur Racng Team 19:55:0 + 30:39
4 174 Facundo Viel* Viel Team 20:57:23 + 1:32:53
5 177 Gaston Gonzalez* Gonzalez Racing 21:07:35 + 1:43:05
6 165 Rodolfo Guillioli Pepitas Racing Team 22:38:12 + 3:13:42
7 175 Matias Canalis* Paparrelli 23:26:28 + 4:01:58
8 153 Juraj Varga Varga Motorsport 39:55:39 + 20:31:09
9 178 Mariano Bennazar* Bennazar Quad Team 41:05:08 + 21:40:38
10 176 Mariano Viel* Viel Team 43:30:41 + 24:06:11
11 170 Leonardo Martinez* Martinez Racing 44:55:47 + 25:31:17
12 173 Ayelén Bogado* MEC Team 49:57:57 + 30:33:27
DNF 171 Suany Martinez* Martinez Racing DNF N/A
DNF 172 Tobias Carrizo* MED Racing Team DNF N/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Quad stage winners

Stage Rider Time
Prologue Marcelo Medeiros* 59:28
Stage #1 Manuel Andújar 3:23:00
Stage #2 Francisco Moreno* 4:31:37
Stage #3 Manuel Andújar 3:40:06
Stage #4 Francisco Moreno* 3:40:48
Stage #5 Manuel Andújar 2:57:25

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 José 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
Road to Dakar Auto 678 Juan José Semino* Xcorpion Rally Racing 20:59:00
Road to Dakar Moto 69 Juan Santiago Rostan* Pampa Rental Rally Team 25:28:33

W2RC Quad standings

Rank Rider Points Margin
1 Laisvydas Kancius 69 Leader
2 Rodolfo Guillioli 53 – 16
3 Juraj Varga 46 – 23
4 Pablo Copetti 38 – 31
T-5 Abdulaziz Ahli 25 – 44
T-5 Manuel Andújar 25 – 44
7 Carlos Alejandro Verza 20 – 49
8 Adomas Gančierius 16 – 53
9 Antonas Kanopkinas 11 – 58
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