Day three of the Desafio Ruta 40 took riders on a loop north of Tinogasta, a city lying in the west of the Catamarca region. With an altitude of 1,500m and mixed terrain of camel grass, sand dunes and hard-pack tracks, the stage tested the riders’ fitness and navigation skills. Originally set at 258.78km, the day’s timed special was cut short at checkpoint three due to an issue with the GPS systems losing signal.
Following his win on Tuesday’s stage two, Toby Price was the first rider into the timed special. Faced with the difficult task of opening the course for the other riders Toby rode well. Despite being caught by his rivals on the stage, the Australian still maintained a strong pace to ultimately finish fourth on the stage but slipped from the rally lead down to third on the combined standings.
“Today went well, I tried to keep to a good consistent pace without making any major mistakes and managed to do just that. We got to the 145km mark and all the bikes lost GPS signal, meaning that the stage had to be stopped at CP3. Up to that point I was happy with how things were going. The guys behind caught me so I knew I was a few minutes behind, but apart from a couple of little mistakes the day was good. I have got a nice start position for tomorrow’s stage, which looks like it’s going to be another long and tough one. Hopefully I can claw back a little more time.”
The fastest rider of the day was again Paulo Gonçalves, eating almost three-minutes into the outright lead of Pablo Quintanilla. The Portuguese Monster Energy Honda Team rider retakes the head of the overall leader board with a 1’13” advantage over the Chilean.
“Today I started out fourth and I was able to take advantage of the starting position. So I tried to close in on those who were up ahead and I was able to catch them before the special was cut short around kilometre 130. It went pretty well and the bike performed great. Tomorrow I will have to open the track. I will try to do my best and not lose much time in order to get to the final day with chances of winning the race. I arrived here to try to regain my pace after a long period without activity and I am happy because I am improving day by day.”
Pablo Quintanilla secured a strong runner-up result on the third rally stage of the 2018 Desafio Ruta 40. Remaining second in the rally’s provisional overall standings, riders have two more stages to battle for the overall victory at this round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
“I’m really satisfied with how things are going here in Argentina. It was another hard stage today and my goal was to make up as much time as I could to the overall leader. Today we had more off-piste sections where navigation was tricky. The timed special was shortened due to problems with the GPS signal on the bikes. Nevertheless, I think we did a great job today. We have two more days for this race to finish and I feel I’m in a good position to fight for the top step of the podium. I feel great racing my Husqvarna in these conditions and I will continue giving my best to finish this event on a high note.”
Thursday’s penultimate stage of the 2018 Desafio Ruta has a total distance of 514km. Taking competitors from Tinogasta to Villa Unión, it features a 357km-long timed special.
2018 Desafio Ruta 40 Rally Stage Three Results
GONCALVES Paulo Honda 2:04’38
QUINTANILLA Pablo Husqvarna +2’54
BRABEC Ricky USA Honda +5’10
PRICE Toby AUS KTM +8’40
BENAVIDES Luciano KTM +9’19
SANTOLINO Lorenzo Sherco +9’35
WALKNER Matthias KTM +9’49
DUPLESSIS Martín Honda +16’04
NOSIGLIA Daniel KTM +17’28
NOSIGLIA Walter KTM +32’21
2018 Desafio Ruta 40 Rally
Overall Standings after Stage Three
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