Monday, June 24, 2024

2023 Sonora Rally: Romain Dumontier dominates Rally2

Romain Dumontier elected to skip the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, but the Dakar Rally champion still has a 100% win percentage on the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship season after dominating the Sonora Rally in Rally2.

After finishing second in the Prologue, Dumontier did not take long to show he has no signs of rust from missing the ADDC as he won all five stages of the main rally. He also had moments of running in the top ten overall, which meant competing alongside riders from the premier RallyGP category, but backed off in Stage #2 due to the dust. Even Dumontier’s most tumultuous day in the third leg, during which cactus thorns got stuck in his arm and he had to stop to repair his torn roadbook, still ended with him winning by two minutes and twenty-one seconds.

By the end, Dumontier had over seventeen minutes on Jacob Argubright and was thirty-six clear of points leader Paolo Lucci.

Although the victory tightens Lucci’s points lead to just three with Dumontier second, the latter is skeptical on if he will run the next race, the Desafío Ruta 40, in August. What is certain, however, is that the Frenchman will run the season-ending Rallye du Maroc.

“A great experience this rally is, beautiful sand tracks, around the cactus, and sometimes super fast,” remarked Dumontier. “I didn’t really know how to position myself at the start of this rally. I hadn’t had the opportunity to train with the rally bike and a roadbook since the Dakar in January, but the automatisms came back well!”

The top three remained almost fully consistent throughout the rally. While Dumontier stood at the top each day, Argubright, an American who is more than familiar with desert racing in Mexico, finished second in all five stages. The final step of the podium traded hands a few times but was mainly occupied by Lucci with the exceptions of Stage #2 and #5; Bradley Cox was third in the former while series newcomer Kerim Fitz-Gerald did so at the latter.

Cox impressed in the Prologue when he set the fastest time of all riders, but went on to finish seventh in the overall after being plagued by mechanical issues. He described the rally as a “super tough week for me with a lot of lows after the massive high of winning the prologue but I’m healthy and more learning in the bag.”

Neels Theric barely missed the podium in his début as a Kove Moto factory rider. Theric and team-mate Sunier, as well as their National Moto colleague Mike Johnson, had to race the rally without their tuned suspension systems as they were confiscated by customs. Despite riding on stock suspensions, which was two sizes smaller than his usual setup and too soft in the rear, Theric was able to finish fourth while Sunier placed ninth.

Rally2 overall results

Finish Number Rider Team Time Margin
1 17 Romain Dumontier HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing 11:48:21 Leader
2 96 Jacob Argubright DUUST Diverse Racing 12:06:08 + 17:47
3 46 Paolo Lucci BAS World KTM Racing Team 12:24:29 + 36:08
4 114 Neels Theric* Kove Moto 12:35:57 + 47:36
5 23 Konrad Dąbrowski DUUST Diverse Racing 13:01:46 + 1:13:25
6 55 Kerim Fitz-Gerald* BAS World KTM Racing Team 13:08:51 + 1:20:30
7 21 Bradley Cox BAS World KTM Racing Team 13:18:57 + 1:30:36
8 60 Francisco Arredondo* BAS World KTM Racing Team 14:59:31 + 3:11:10
9 89 Sunier* Kove Moto 15:34:29 + 3:46:08
10 53 Nathan Rafferty* BAS World KTM Racing Team 15:45:08 + 3:56:47
11 54 Mario Garrido* Mario Garrido 16:27:32 + 4:39:11
12 105 Morrison Hart* Mo Industries 16:31:17 + 4:42:56
13 31 Petr Vlcek* Montáže Brož Racing Team 16:56:08 + 5:07:47
14 30 Jiří Brož* Montáže Brož Racing Team 18:40:05 + 6:51:44
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Rally2 stage winners

Stage Rider Time
Prologue Bradley Cox 43:28
Stage #1 Romain Dumontier 1:39:12
Stage #2 Romain Dumontier 1:34:31
Stage #3 Romain Dumontier 3:43:19
Stage #4 Romain Dumontier 2:41:14
Stage #5 Romain Dumontier 1:21:49

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

W2RC Rally2 standings

Rank Driver Points Margin
1 Paolo Lucci 66 Leader
2 Romain Dumontier 63 – 3
3 Jean-Loup Lepan 45 – 21
4 Jacob Argubright 35 – 31
5 Toni Mulec 30 – 36
6 Michael Docherty 24 – 42
7 Mathieu Dovèze 17 – 49
8 Dominique Cizeau Girault 13 – 53
9 Neels Theric 13 – 53
10 Jan Brabec 12 – 54
11 Jon Florea 11 – 55
12 Konrad Dąbrowski 11 – 55
13 Mirjam Pol 11 – 55
14 Bradley Cox 10 – 56
15 Sunier 9 – 57
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