World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 Desafio Ruta 40: Luciano Benavides suffers partial femur fracture

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Credit: Edoardo Bauer/DPPI

The past month has been anything but kind to the Benavides brothers.

Just three weeks after his older brother Kevin Benavides sustained a broken arm and head injuries in a training accident that forced him to miss the Desafío Ruta 40Luciano Benavides suffered a fracture to the top of his right femur when he crashed in Stage #1 of said race.

After running in the top five for the first 258 kilometres of the opening stage on Monday, Benavides lost control of his bike while braking through a corner and fell off, sliding into rocks on the side of the road. He had finished fifth in the Prologue the day prior. Requesting a helicopter airlift for hip pain, he was taken to hospital in Córdoba where he was diagnosed with the femur fracture.

He was taken to another hospital in Salta for further evaluation and will undergo surgery.

“It wasn’t an error on lack of concentration or anything strange,” Benavides stressed, “just things that can happen in less than a second in this sport and that could have been more than just a fall. I thank my entire team for their work so that I can be here, to the organisation and the province of Salta for rescuing me, and sorry to my family and friends who in the last few weeks I made suffer more than necessary.”

The DR 40, the Argentine’s home race, was his second start of the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship after finishing seventh in the season-opening Dakar Rally. Benavides won the 2023 championship but is not defending his title amidst a downscaled schedule for Husqvarna Factory Racing. He finished second in the 2023 DR 40, but earned max points towards his title run as the highest placing W2RC rider (winner Tosha Schareina was not registered for points).

“Luciano was having a really good start to the rally until his unfortunate crash,” said team manager Andreas Hölzl“When he arrived at the hospital he was diagnosed with a small fracture to the head of his femur. Further checks are due to take place today to decide if surgery is required. Of course, we are really sorry that this has happened and it’s disappointing, especially as it was Luciano’s home race, but now we will focus on making sure he has a full recovery before he returns to racing.”

The next and final W2RC race of the season, the Rallye du Maroc, will take place in October, giving Benavides four months to recover. If not, his focus will be on the 2025 Dakar Rally in January.

UPDATE: Story has been updated to include a statement from Benavides.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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