Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Now-healthy Michael Docherty returning to W2RC in Argentina

Michael Docherty might be in a hole points-wise after missing the last two rounds to injury, but his World Rally-Raid Championship campaign is back on as he prepares to enter the next race in Argentina.

Docherty dislocated his wrist in Stage #3 of the season-opening Dakar Rally, but it did not seem to hurt him too much at the time as he won three stages afterwards and finished third overall in Rally2 behind Romain Dumontier and Paolo Lucci. He scored four total stage wins including the Prologue, and consistently kept pace with riders in the top RallyGP class to the point where he finished second among all bikes in Stage #13.

Despite the impressive run, the wrist sidelined him for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge the following month as well as the Sonora Rally in April. His absence, coupled with Dumontier skipping Abu Dhabi, allowed Lucci to take the points lead. After three rounds, Lucci has a three-point edge over Dumontier who dominated Sonora. Jean-Loup Lepan, the highest finishing W2RC rider in class at Abu Dhabi, is third and twenty-one points back but did not run the Sonora Rally.

Meanwhile, Docherty fell from third in the Rally2 standings after Dakar to sixth and trails Lucci by forty-two. While mathematically not eliminated, he faces a Herculean task if he wants to get back into the championship fight even with Rally2 riders receiving a mulligan in the form of being allowed to drop their worst result or a skipped race from their final total.

He made his riding return with dune testing in late April.

The next W2RC race, the Desafío Ruta 40, runs from 27 August to 1 September.