World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid: Bruno Santos the home country hero in Rally2

3 Mins read
Credit: Paulo Maria/DPPI

Twice Portuguese Cross Country Champion and reigning Baja Portalegre 500 winner Bruno Santos brought more than just his A-game when the World Rally-Raid Championship came knocking on his door for the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid. Defending his turf like there was no tomorrow, he topped the Rally2 class with four stage victories and over twenty-one minutes on points-earning riders Bradley Cox and Romain Dumontier.

Cox initially drew first blood by beating every bike, including those in the premier RallyGP category, in Stage #1 until he received a twenty-minute penalty for leaving the neutralisation zone between Selective Sections too soon. Prologue winner Edgar Canet also made the same mistake, costing him twelve minutes and his early advantage.

Santos inherited the stage win as a result, but proved it was no fluke as he won the next three legs. He narrowly beat Cox by twenty-two seconds for the Stage #2 victory, then dropped a nearly eight-minute advantage in the third leg to lead by seventeen. A fourth win in Stage #4 made the margin an almost insurmountable 20:49 over Canet barring a retirement on the last day.

With such a big advantage, Santos was able to take the final day easier yet he still recorded a podium as he finished third and only a minute behind Dumontier. His final time of 10:11:42 was third among all bikes, trailing just RallyGP riders Tosha Schareina and Sebastian Bühler. The overall adds to an increasingly impressive international rally raid résumé; after having to abort his Dakar Rally début in 2022 due to injury, he re-earned his eligibility for the 2024 race after finishing fifth in class in his maiden W2RC start at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, then was the second-best rookie at Dakar in sixteenth.

“Several of my idols were in this race. I could hardly contain my excitement to realise that I was able to fight second by second over several days with these legends,” wrote Santos, who called the race “an astonishing week of competition”. “I know that I am probably at the peak of my sporting career right now, but let’s continue to push a little further, climbing the steps within our reach!”

Dumontier’s Stage #5 win enabled him to hold off Canet for the final overall podium spot by a single second. The reigning champion also moves past Jean-Loup Lepan for the lead in the standings, also by one point. Cox, as the highest finisher among W2RC riders, leapfrogs Konrad Dąbrowski for third and is three points back.

While missing the podium by the narrowest margin, Canet’s fourth still earns him the Junior Trophy for riders under twenty-five as the nineteen-year-old beat Jeremías Pascual by ten minutes. David Casteu rounded out the top ten to win the Veteran Trophy for those over forty-five.

Dakar Rally winner Harith Noah was at the bottom of the leaderboard but was glad to just reach the finish. He crashed in Stages #1 and #4 and retired from the second with a mechanical failure, suffering a minor wrist injury in the second accident.

“I wish it would have gone differently but here we are now,” said Noah. “Taking a lot home from this home and a lot has been learned.”

Rally2 overall results

140Bruno Santos*Momento TT Motos10:11:42Leader
218Bradley CoxBAS World KTM Racing Team10:32:50+ 21:08
316Romain DumontierTeam Dumontier Racing10:38:22+ 26:40
469Edgar Canet*Xraids Experience10:38:23+ 26:41
528Mathieu DovèzeBAS World KTM Racing Team10:40:56+ 29:14
663Jeremías Pascual*Pedrega Team10:48:28+ 36:46
765Josep Pedró Subirats*Pedrega Team11:10:38+ 58:56
876Jean-Loup LepanDUUST Rally Team11:11:26+ 59:44
962Alexandre Vaudan*Alexandre Vaughn11:11:31+ 59:49
1032David Casteu*David Casteu11:16:15+ 1:04:33
1126Konrad DąbrowskiDUUST Rally Team11:17:16+ 1:05:34
1233Jan BrabecStrojrent Racing11:38:31+ 1:26:49
1356Paul Costes*Nomade Racing11:43:42+ 1:32:00
1457Adrien Costes*Nomade Racing11:54:15+ 1:42:33
1547José Ramón Colomar Pallarés*Joyride Race Service11:59:38+ 1:47:56
16127Ronald Venter*Ronald Venter12:10:02+ 1:58:20
1741Nicolas Horeaux*Nomade Racing12:11:44+ 2:00:02
1854Dwain Barnard*Nomade Racing12:30:35+ 2:18:53
19129Sébastien HerbetSébastien Herbet12:32:54+ 2:21:12
2058Christopher Jautard*Nomade Racing12:51:11+ 2:39:29
2149Rémy Moreau*Nomade Racing13:33:58+ 3:22:16
2280Rafic Eid*Rafic Eid13:41:57+ 3:30:15
2361Vaughn Roux*BAS World KTM Racing Team14:38:41+ 4:26:59
2443Ferran Zaragoza*Pedrega Team15:03:18+ 4:51:36
2559Pedro Pinheiro*Pedro Pinheiro15:58:42+ 5:47:00
2660Sergio Fernandez Garcia*Pedrega Team16:27:54+ 36:16:12
2745Jatin Jain*Jatin Jain23:16:56+ 13:05:14
2855Carlos Lopez Belloso*Pedrega Team24:06:25+ 13:54:43
2948Joan Viñals Jul*Joyride Race Service24:07:17+ 13:55:35
3020Harith Noah*Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team30:40:26+ 20:28:44
3144Matthieu Cauvin*Nomade Racing54:42:56+ 44:31:14
DNF52Marshall Méplon*Marshall MéplonDNFN/A
DNF53Adriá Pascuet*Joyride Race ServiceDNFN/A
DNF64Romain Souvignet*Romain SouvignetDNFN/A
DNF71Jorge Escobedo*Pedrega TeamDNFN/A
DNF84Martim Ventura*Martim VenturaDNFN/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship
Bold – Junior Trophy
Italics – Veteran Trophy

Rally2 stage winners

PrologueEdgar Canet*3:33.5
Stage #1Bruno Santos*1:19:55
Stage #2Bruno Santos*1:49:57
Stage #3Bruno Santos*3:26:48
Stage #4Bruno Santos*2:40:19
Stage #5Romain Dumontier50:02

W2RC Rally2 standings

For readability, competitors registered for the championship who have not earned points are excluded.

1Romain Dumontier58Leader
2Jean-Loup Lepan57– 1
3Bradley Cox55– 3
4Konrad Dąbrowski47– 11
5Jan Brabec35– 23
6Mathieu Dovèze33– 25
7Toni Mulec20– 38
8Diego Llanos15– 43
9Tobias Ebster14– 44
10Charan Moore12– 46
11Sébastien Herbet11– 47
12Charlie Herbst8– 50
13David McBride6– 52
14Oran O’Kelly5– 53
15Sebastián Urquía3– 55
16Rachid Al-Lal Lahadil2– 56
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