Monday, May 27, 2024

Kevin Benavides to miss Desafio Ruta 40 with wrist injury

Reigning Dakar Rally winner Kevin Benavides will miss his second World Rally-Raid Championship race of the season after suffering a broken lunate bone and ligament damage in his right wrist while testing with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in the United States on Sunday. While surgery was successful, the injury sidelines him for the Desafío Ruta 40 in his home country of Argentina, which begins on 28 August.

Benavides has endured a difficult 2023 campaign since his Dakar victory. He missed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in February when he broke his femur during shakedown just days before the race. His return at the Sonora Rally in April was mainly to help him re-adjust to riding again, meaning simply finishing was his priority which he achieved as he placed twelfth in RallyGP of fifteen riders (eleventh among W2RC riders as runner-up Tosha Schareina is not racing for points).

He is currently fourth in the RallyGP standings with 43 points, 19 behind leader and KTM team-mate Toby Price. Such a gap would have been difficult to close but doable with two rounds remaining, but missing as many races virtually eliminates Benavides from contention.

“This is a terrible setback for both Kevin and the whole team, especially coming so soon after he worked incredibly hard to return to full fitness after breaking his femur back in February,” said team manager Norbert Stadlbauer. “Thankfully, it looks like the surgery to his wrist went well and Kevin is already on the road to recovery. Although, like with any injury, it’s difficult to predict when we’ll see Kevin back aboard his KTM 450 Rally, the team are of course 100 percent behind him and wish him a fast and complete recovery.”

The team has not provided a timetable for his recovery. The Rallye du Maroc, the final race of the W2RC season, is in October.