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BRABEC LOSES THE BATTLE, STILL LEADS THE RALLY

  • Dealernews
  • Jun 06, 2024

 

Despite the unenviable task of having to break trail after winning his second stage of the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally, defending Dakar champ Ricky Brabec didn’t give up much on the second to the last stage today and retains the overall lead. Stage 4 saw teammate Tosha Schareina taking victory in an epic battle that started off with a dune section before taking racing on a long day through chotts, tarmac, a river section to then finish off with a gravel track heading into the final bivouac of the rally at La Rioja.

“It was the second special of the rally I opened so I have spent about 700km opening the Desafío Ruta 40, but it was fun today,” said Brabec from the bivouac. “We started out in the stones then got to the sand section, which for me is like home… Just before the transfer there was a fast lake bed chott and navigation got tricky there for a moment, but I just stayed calm to navigate through it and get to the transfer. There’s been a back and forth battle between myself and Tosha all day which has been really cool, so this has made the rally really interesting.”

The day began with HRC teammate Adrien Van Beveren looking to cut his 3’38” time difference to Brabec on the 280km stage …and that he did quickly as he took the lead by the first waypoint.  Brabec had other ideas, despite having the arduous task of leaving the start line first. Arm pump issues for Van Beveren led to the American clocking the fastest time 88km in, but this time he had another Monster Energy Honda Team rider to contend with in the form of Schareina. Brabec kept him at bay for the majority of the stage but a determined Schareina, who was looking to add to his prologue win, managed to reduce a 55 second gap right down to 7 seconds.  

With a 110km road transfer to break up the timed section, they were back on the gas for a final 100km dash to the finish with just one second separating them at the final time split.  Come the finish there were just seven seconds splitting them as Schareina notched up his sixth World Rally-Raid Championship stage win.

As they head into the final day tomorrow, Schareina will have to not only make up nearly a minute and a half on Brabec to take a second consecutive Desafío Ruta 40 win but he’ll also have to open the stage, something that may hand the American rider an advantage.

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