World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid: Carlos Jorge Mendes, Johan Senders complete race in Stock, Open

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Credit: Carlos Jorge Mendes

Carlos Jorge Mendes and Johan Senders were the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid‘s only entrants in the Stock and Open categories, respectively, meaning their only competition were the forests of Portugal and Spain and any mechanical gremlins that strike their vehicles. While the latter certainly happened a bit more than either would like, they were able to complete the race in the end.

Both cars started at the back behind the other FIA classes and ahead of the non-World Rally-Raid Championship National category, the latter run in tandem with the Portuguese Cross Country Championship. While they were able to complete the Prologue before damage done to the course forced the leg to be cancelled for National, the challenges quickly accumulated from there. Neither of them nor the National entrants were able to complete Stage #2 due to poor track conditions caused by heavy rain and those who raced before them, and estimated times were assigned for Mendes and Senders.

Mendes, nicknamed “Cajó”, and his navigator Rui Silva finished second in the CPTT’s T2 class, which ended its race after two stages, before joining the rest of the W2RC for the final three. Ironically, although rally raids are unforgiving for Stock vehicles and their Isuzu D-Max had gotten stuck during the early stages, they were able to complete the longest day in Stage #3 without major issue save for doing the last eighty kilometres with rear-wheel drive. By the end, Mendes’ total time was good for forty-seventh among all FIA cars.

“Mission accomplished. We faced an excellently organised race, with excellent stages marked by a variety of surfaces, with a large audience that never moved from the first to the last vehicle,” Mendes told AutoLook. “It was five unforgettable days with a lot of work, but we also had a lot of fun.”

Senders, a Dutchman and CPTT regular, and his Toyota Hilux set a final time fast enough to rank thirtieth in FIA. The Hilux is eligible for CPTT competition in the T8 category, but does not meet the FIA’s regulations for Ultimate (T1) or Stock (T2), forcing him to enter it into the Open class for vehicles outside specs. It was the first time a W2RC round had Open entries in 2024 and the fourth since the championship’s formation after the 2022 and 2023 Rallyes du Maroc and 2022 Andalucía Rally.

Despite being an FIA-overseen class and part of the World Rally-Raid Championship, Stock is like the series’ red-headed stepchild. It typically draws only two to three entries, almost exclusively at the Dakar Rally and Rallye du Maroc with Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body comprising most if not all of them; three cars, two from Toyota and a private effort by Ibrahim Almuhna, raced the Dakar in January. Due to its small status, it and Truck are the only FIA categories that do not award a W2RC trophy.

Stock overall results

1500Carlos Jorge MendesRui SilvaUltimate Adventure Team21:37:22Leader
The Stock class does not have a World Rally-Raid Championship trophy

Open overall results

1700Johan SendersKala SendersJohan Senders11:59:20Leader
The Open class does not have a World Rally-Raid Championship trophy

Stock stage winners

PrologueCarlos Jorge Mendes29:50.8
Stage #1Carlos Jorge Mendes2:14:14
Stage #2Carlos Jorge Mendes3:06:12
Stage #3Carlos Jorge Mendes4:45:45
Stage #4Carlos Jorge Mendes3:31:21
Stage #5Carlos Jorge Mendes8:00:00

Open stage winners

PrologueJohan Senders19:27
Stage #1Johan Senders1:49:26
Stage #2Johan Senders1:51:49
Stage #3Johan Senders4:09:13
Stage #4Johan Senders3:00:59
Stage #5Johan Senders1:07:53
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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