World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 BP Ultimate Rally-Raid: Kamil Wisniewski fends off CFMOTOs for first Quad win

4 Mins read
Credit: Paulo Maria/ASO

After winning the Dakar Rally in the Quad category, Manuel Andújar was on track to go two-for-two in the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship as he won the first four legs at the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid and led by over twenty-one minutes at the halfway mark.

A broken driveshaft ended any hopes of that.

Andújar was forced to retire from the fourth and penultimate stage when his driveshaft came loose while leading by three minutes with less than seventy kilometres to go. After losing twenty minutes whilst making repairs, he rejoined the stage and tried to make up the ground before crashing into a stopped bike. Even winning Stage #5 was not enough as he finished fourth overall.

Kamil Wiśniewski inherited both the Stage #4 and overall lead following Andújar’s problems. While Mikołaj Krysik ultimately won that leg for his maiden W2RC stage victory, he was too far back to catch the leaders entering the final day; much of his deficit was incurred on the first stage when he suffered a suspension failure while jumping into water, followed by a roll that damaged the navigation tower.

Wiśniewski faced pressure from the CFMOTO Thunder Racing Team duo of Antanas Kanopkinas and Gaëtan Martinez, both of whom trailed by identical margins of two minutes and twenty-eight seconds going into Stage #5. Unlike at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, his Yamaha Raptor did not let him down this time as he built a six-minute margin on the CFORCE 1000s, beating Kanopkinas by 5:49 and Martinez by 6:19.

Besides his first career win in the World Championship, Wiśniewski also finally catches a break: he missed the Dakar Rally due to a knee injury he sustained in the 2023 edition, then won the Prologue in Abu Dhabi before mechanical issues caused him to fall behind almost immediately after to be the category’s lone retirement.

“Five days of battling on fast and muddy terrain in Spain and Portugal and I finish as a winner,” Wiśniewski proclaimed. “I am very pleased and happy and thank you all for keeping your fingers crossed!”

CFMOTO enjoyed their second W2RC podium after Adomas Gančierius’ third in their series début at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Following Kanopkinas’ fifth at the Dakar, the team skipped the 2024 ADDC due to logistical snares stemming from the ongoing shipping attacks in the Red Sea.

“I gave all of me every day. During so many kilometres, only a few minor mistakes happened; we really pushed the maximum both from ourselves and from the equipment,” Kanopkinas commented. “I am very happy with the work done by the whole team, because we didn’t have any technical problems either on the tracks or on the liaisons. The team’s preparation was worth ten points.

“The organisation of the event is also amazing, there were a lot of spectators. All the emotions after this competition are very positive. It’s both speed and preparation, both physical and psychological. Some competitors sadly did not pass all the exams, but it happens, the next stages await, where everyone can make up for it. We also start to prepare for the next start the moment we get back home.”

Martinez, who stopped to help Andújar following his accident, said he was “very happy that we proved again that we are a strong racing team and that CFMOTO has its place in the championship. It was a great experience, a great rally, lots of different tracks throughout the days. Now is the time to rest and prepare for the next race.”

Even with the Stage #4 debacle, Andújar’s points lead only increased as ADDC runner-up Hani Al-Noumesi did not enter Portugal. Kanopkinas moves from seventh to second, trailing by fourteen points.

Juraj Varga and Suany Martinez retired from the race with electrical problems. Varga was taken out on the first stage, which Martinez was unable to start because of issues on her Polaris Scrambler. Additional motor and electrical trouble struck just twelve kilometres into the Stage #2, and she recalled that the support van summoned to help her ended up getting into an accident as well. Martinez hopes to rebound when the W2RC heads to South America for the Desafío Ruta 40 in June.

Despite the overall win coming down to the final day, the race was overshadowed by the Amaury Sport Organisation announcing days prior that the Quad category would not return to the Dakar Rally in 2025, citing a lack of manufacturer support and desire to invest into the bike classes. The news was relayed to the riders mid-race, and Varga stated it reinforced his decision not to attempt to resolve his mechanical snags and rejoin the race. Andújar called his Stage #1 win “bittersweet” due to the announcement and expressed hope that the FIM would work to change the ASO’s minds.

“We were very surprised, because it takes a lot of time and energy to prepare quad bikes, to think of logistics for the whole season and also to prepare finances, but we do all this for the main thing: Dakar. Cancelling the main reason why we all do it in the middle of the season is extremely unfair to me,” said Varga.

Quad overall results

FinishNumberRiderTeamTimeMargin
1177Kamil WiśniewskiORLEN Team12:05:22Leader
2175Antanas KanopkinasCFMOTO Thunder Racing Team12:11:11+ 5:49
3176Gaëtan MartinezCFMOTO Thunder Racing Team12:11:41+ 6:19
4174Manuel Andújar7240 Team12:18:29+ 13:07
5193Marcin WilkołekMarcin Wilkołek12:41:26+ 36:04
6180Ayelén Bogado*Ayelén Bogado14:07:07+ 2:01:45
7178Mikołaj Krysik*Martin Rally Team25:08:00+ 13:02:38
8181Alberto Prieto Ruiz*Alberto Prieto Ruiz33:17:47+ 21:12:25
DNF171Juraj VargaVarga MotorsportDNFN/A
DNF182Suany MartinezSuany MartinezDNFN/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Quad stage winners

StageDriverTime
PrologueManuel Andújar3:45.8
Stage #1Manuel Andújar1:31:49
Stage #2Manuel Andújar2:06:04
Stage #3Manuel Andújar3:56:48
Stage #4Mikołaj Krysik*3:03:56
Stage #5Manuel Andújar57:33

W2RC Quad standings

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

RankRiderPointsMargin
1Manuel Andújar51Leader
2Antonas Kanopkinas37– 14
3Hani Al-Noumesi34– 17
4Alexandre Giroud30– 21
T-5Kamil Wiśniewski25– 26
T-5Abdulaziz Ahli25– 26
7Juraj Varga24– 27
8Laisvydas Kancius20– 31
9Gaëtan Martinez16– 35
10Samuel Desbuisson15– 36
11Marcin Wilkołek11– 40
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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