World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 Desafio Ruta 40: Toyota Gazoo Racing goes back to back in Stage 3

3 Mins read
Credit: Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Toyota Gazoo Racing and Monster Energy Honda Rally Team were happy campers upon wrapping up Stage #3 of the Desafío Ruta 40 on Wednesday. While the latter completed another podium sweep on the bike side, TGR scored their second consecutive stage win as Seth Quintero held off Nasser Al-Attiyah for his second career Ultimate victory.

TGR last claimed back-to-back stages at the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship-ending Rallye du Maroc with Al-Attiyah. His departure for Prodrive ahead of the 2024 season prompted them to sign Quintero and Lucas Moraes, the latter winning Stage #2 on Tuesday.

Al-Attiyah and Yazeed Al-Rajhi, respectively second and first overall entering Wednesday, battled for the lead throughout the first half of the stage before Quintero entered the picture. He quickly passed Al-Attiyah at the midway point before he started setting faster times than Al-Rajhi in the final 100 kilometres. Quintero quickly built a gap over Al-Rajhi before Al-Attiyah moved up to second behind him, ultimately taking the win by 1:09 over him while Al-Rajhi was 2:07 back.

He notched his maiden stage win in the Ultimate class at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in February. However, he remains a distant fifth in the overall and trailing Al-Rajhi by 28:06 after losing time in Stage #1 when he went off course to avoid spectators and went into a ditch.

On the bike side, Honda finished 1–2–3 again with Ricky Brabec, Skyler Howes, and Tosha Schareina. After a slow start due to the colder weather, Brabec hit his stride in the second half and overtook Howes for the lead; Howes beat Schareina by eleven seconds for the runner-up spot. With his second stage win, Brabec now leads Schareina outright by 1:34 with Honda allies Adrien Van Beveren and Howes behind.

“It feels good to get another stage win, although in rally raid you don’t always want to win because some days you want to open the stage and others you don’t,” commented Brabec. “I started out a little bit slow today because I was freezing but after refuelling I realised I needed to step up a bit and put the gas on. I made a good push and it worked so it was a good day to take my second stage win but tomorrow I get to open again but I’m wary the last day will be a maximum attack day for hopefully a podium.”

Daniel Sanders battled with the Hondas for a podium spot but came up short. His GasGas team-mate Sam Sunderland retired due to blurred vision in his eye, a predicament that also forced him out of the 2023 Rallye du Maroc.

Rokas Baciuška‘s Challenger win streak was snapped as he finished fifth, seven minutes behind. On their home turf, Argentines Nazareno López and Nicolás Cavigliasso went 1–2, the former scoring his first W2RC stage win.

David Zille led Challenger in the opening kilometres before a mechanical issue caused him to fall off the pace and force him out altogether. Juan Cruz Yacopini reached the finish a day after rolling his Toyota Hilux, but “made a mistake” while attempting to pass another car in the final seventy kilometres that resulted in terminal damage.

With his Stage #3 win, Ricardo Ramilo took the SSV overall lead from Enrico Gaspari with a four-minute advantage. Sebastián Guayasamín, still desperate to get past the retired Yasir Seaidan in the championship, sits third. Rebecca Busi was fourth after struggling with a “very tired” engine and getting lost.

Manuel Andújar nearly doubled his Quad advantage over Facundo Viel from eighteen minutes to thirty-two after winning while Viel finished third. Cooper Van Vliet rebounded him his Prologue crash to place runner-up.

Stage #3 winners

Ultimate206Seth QuinteroToyota Gazoo Racing3:14:00
Challenger313Nazareno López*BBR Motorsport3:27:51
SSV402Ricardo RamiloScuderia Ramilo3:46:35
RallyGP9Ricky BrabecMonster Energy Honda Rally Team3:15:15
Rally216Romain DumontierTeam Dumontier Racing3:27:20
Rally334Fernando HernándezMED Racing Team4:22:37
Quad174Manuel Andújar7240 Team4:04:24
Open Bike603Julian Sanchez Dabin*Max Clean Rally Team4:53:25
Open Cars650Jeremías Gonzalez Ferioli*Ferioli Racing Team3:46:39
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Leaders after Stage #3

Ultimate202Yazeed Al-RajhiOverdrive Racing11:21:18
Challenger300Rokas BaciuškaCan-Am Factory Team12:13:17
SSV402Ricardo RamiloScuderia Ramilo13:19:57
RallyGP9Ricky BrabecMonster Energy Honda Rally Team11:54:03
Rally216Romain DumontierTeam Dumontier Racing12:25:28
Rally334Fernando HernándezMED Racing Team15:17:39
Quad174Manuel Andújar7240 Team13:50:13
Open Bike603Julian Sanchez Dabin*Max Clean Rally Team16:13:15
Open Cars650Jeremías Gonzalez Ferioli*Ferioli Racing Team13:38:29
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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