Desafío Ruta 40 Norte went through its fourth and next to last stage. On a freezing day, competitors completed the 309km between Belén and Tafí del Valle. The race will end tomorrow when the competition gets to Tucumán.



Kevin Benavides stroke an important blow in the Overall when winning Stage 4 in Desafío Ruta 40 with a time of 4:46.12 and was able to go back to the top. He has a 10m36s gap over his teammate, Paulo Goncalves, who paid a high price when he fell down in the second part of the stage. Xavier De Soultrait and his Yamaha, kept their third place in the overall.

“It was a very important day to fight for the lead. Being behind was an advantage and I was able to shorten the gap. During the first part I had a quiet pace but during the final 200 kilometers I went flat out until I got to a place in which we all got complicated with the navigation and I managed to join the ones in the lead. Fortunately, things are going well and I will continue pushing tomorrow to try and get a hold on the victory.

Michael Metge (2m30s behind – Monster Energy Honda Team) got the second best time in the stage, while Adrien Van Beveren (3m18s diff) from Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team improved after days with problems, and completed the podium of the day.



Nicolás Cavigliasso got his second stage victory in a row and once again showed that, if it had not been for the mechanical problems in the first days, he could be a true protagonist in the fight for the lead.  “I was able to have a good navigation in front. The dunes zone was complicated, but it is really a nice terrain to compete in. The idea was to fight for the lead in the overall, but the problems in the first days left us out of competition. Now I just want to continue getting experience and to find a good pace to navigate and go fast as well, he said.

Jeremías González Ferioli –third in the stage- also had a good deal by keeping the pace in front to defend his comfortable lead in the Overall. The new second is Kees Koolen, who managed to get a little advantage of 10 minutes regarding Pablo Copetti, who is now third.

Among 4×4 quads, Daniel Mazzucco continued his domain.  He won his fourth stage in a row and continues leading the Overall comfortably.  “It has been long since I last ran in such a tough stage, there was a bit of everything. Even considering my eight Dakars, this one was the hardest stage ever”, the rider said.



The other driver who is clearly the one to win the ninth edition of DR40 Norte is Orlando Terranova. The driver form Mendoza got his fourth stage victory in a row by setting a time of 4:54:31. “It was a nice stage, complete, fun to drive. The stages in this Desafío Ruta 40 Norte have been harder than in any Dakar.  We went through very nice dunes, hard to climb with the car since they were continually changing and demanding for the car. Ì think cross country races should be this kind of rough” the Mini driver said. José García follows him and now the difference in the Overall is a little less than four hours.  `The third place was for Blas Zapag who, although he suffered a delay today, still keeps the third place. But now Martín Maldondo, for the second day in a row among the top three, is quite close.

DR40 Norte is getting to the end

The fifth and last stage of the rally, between Tafí del Valle and San Miguel de Tucumán, will start tomorrow. The stage will have 180.7km. There will be stunning landscapes and changes of terrain.  Kevin Benavides will be in charge of opening the road as from 9:30 am.

The finish podium will close the day. The crowning ceremony will take place at the Government House as from 5.00 pm. Attendance is free.