Sunday, April 21, 2024

2023 Sonora Rally: Laisvydas Kancius wins Quad duel

The Sonora Rally‘s Quad category was barren compared to the first two World Rally-Raid Championship rounds as only Laisvydas Kancius and Rodolfo Guillioli were entered, tying T2 at January’s Dakar Rally for the fewest entries in a W2RC class. Still, a two-man race was a race nonetheless as the pair renewed their battle from Abu Dhabi, with Kancius coming out on top and strengthening his W2RC points lead.

Kancius won four of the six legs while Guillioli took two. Guillioli was the first entry to start the rally by kicking off the Prologue, which he called “a rare honour”, but fell behind quickly after an error sent him off course and he placed seven minutes after Kancius.

The margin grew in Stage #1 after Kancius won by nine minutes, though Guillioli returned the favour as he edged out his rival in Stage #2 by just thirty-seven seconds in a “very inconsistent and dangerous” course due to multiple riders crashing out in the early sectors. Kancius’ Yamaha Raptor had suffered an electrical failure coming to the Selective Section, which he discovered was due to faulty wiring insulation.

While Kancius rectified his issue for the third stage, Guillioli encountered a very familiar problem when the coil connecting the spark plug to the engine broke just ten kilometres into the liaison route heading to the speed section; he replaced the spark plug in time to start the stage, only for his Raptor to break down again. Such an issue had denied him a shot at the overall podium in Abu Dhabi. By the time Guillioli reached the finish, he had to pause and adjust the plug approximately twenty-five times and was over twenty-two minutes back of Kancius.

With Guillioli trying to re-find his groove in Stage #4, Kancius solidified his advantage by beating him to the win by 10:26. Trailing by 49:32 entering the fifth and final day, Guillioli won by three minutes. Although not an overall win, Guillioli cherished the rally since “when I reached the finish line, I had passed thinking that the only thing that mattered to me was to bring a stage winner’s medal to each of my daughters. The one from two days ago, and today. I did it!!! Happy day, very happy!!! and in one piece…”

Kancius remains the championship leader, growing from forty-four points to a very nice sixty-nine, while Guillioli goes from seventh to third with thirty-three. Pablo Copetti, who skipped Abu Dhabi and Sonora, is still second with thirty-eight points and intends to return for the next race in Argentina.

“I gained new experience, I tested my physical capacity, I also had a little stress, but I managed the situations,” said Kancius. “So, everything is positive and this year can be really special and exceptional.

“It’s a great feeling not only to win, but to participate in the competition in general, to gain experience, test yourself, and improve.”

Quad overall results

Finish Number Rider Team Time Margin
1 162 Laisvydas Kancius AG Dakar School 15:33:14 Leader
2 165 Rodolfo Guillioli Pepitas Racing Team 16:19:45 + 46:31

Quad stage winners

Stage Rider Time
Prologue Laisvydas Kancius 55:20
Stage #1 Laisvydas Kancius 1:59:07
Stage #2 Rodolfo Guillioli 2:09:40
Stage #3 Laisvydas Kancius 4:49:51
Stage #4 Laisvydas Kancius 3:21:06
Stage #5 Rodolfo Guillioli 2:14:32

Overall winners

Class Number Competitor Team Time
T1 201 Nasser Al-Attiyah Toyota Gazoo Racing 10:29:55
T3 302 Mitch Guthrie Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team 11:17:24
T4 400 Rokas Baciuška Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing 11:51:05
RallyGP 18 Daniel Sanders Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing 11:01:09
Rally2 17 Romain Dumontier HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing 11:48:21
Rally3 57 Massimo Camurri Freedom Rally Racing 15:59:16
Quad 162 Laisvydas Kancius AG Dakar School 15:33:14
National Car/UTV 605 Sara Price* SP Motorsports 17:14:04
National Enduro 513 Brendan Crow* Brendan Crow 16:37:36
National Malle Moto 501 Matt Sutherland* Matt Sutherland 18:24:08
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

W2RC Quad standings

Rank Rider Points Margin
1 Laisvydas Kancius 69 Leader
2 Pablo Copetti 38 – 31
3 Rodolfo Guillioli 33 – 36
4 Juraj Varga 30 – 39
5 Abdulaziz Ahli 25 – 44
6 Carlos Alejandro Verza 20 – 49
7 Adomas Gančierius 16 – 53
8 Antonas Kanopkinas 11 – 58
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