Benavides, Gonzalez Ferioli and Terranova won in a very hard day

The action in Desafío Ruta 40 Norte left Villa Unión (La Rioja) and moved to Tinogasta (Catamarca). On a sunny day with high temperatures, competitors had to cross 159km of strenuous roads over dry rivers with rocks and a lot of navigation, to continue then 98km more in the indomitable dunes of Fiambalá.
In this demanding stage, where the surprise was Sam Sunderland’s retirement at neutralization due to a strong crash on the road, Kevin Benavides was able to set his pace and he is now leading in Bikes. Orlando Terranova arrived to the bivouac onboard his X-Raid John Works Mini Cooper  in first place, as did Jeremías Gonzalez Ferioli in Quads 4×2 and Daniel Mazzucco in Quads 4×4.
Kevin Benavides recovered from the crash suffered yesterday and achieved the best time on the second day of Desafío Ruta 40 Norte 2017 and now leads the Overall in the bikes category but just 48 seconds over teammate Paulo Goncalves.
The second day of competition proposed an extremely challenging course both as regards navigation and the tough roads. Many competitors struggled to find the right way, especially at the start of the timed section.
The race climbed to over 3500 meters above sea level through a dry river with many rocks and then by the end there were more than 100 kilometers through Fiambalá dunes.
Kevin Benavides: “My hand is quite swollen, it looks lie an empanada, but it endured. The stage was very hard. At km 15 we were all lost because we could not find a WP until I found the lines of the Opening, I went back and found it. I was opening all along the stage, it was quite complicated to navigate. I’m very happy, I did it right. In Fiambalá, the dunes were very soft, the bike got stuck, buried and I had to be very careful. Today was very demanding physically.
Jeremías González Ferioli won the second stage of Desafío Ruta 40 Norte and now leads 4×2 Quads Overall classification. The driver from Córdoba completed the 330km of the day’s timed section in 5:02:03 and was 20:24 ahead Rodolfo Guillioli.
“It was a very tough stage, but just as usual in this race. It was quite demanding and we felt it, especially because of the hot weather in Fiambalá. I’m happy I finished without many problems, but tomorrow we will also have a very complicated stage in Belén”, the leader the classification said.
In the overall, Gonzalez Ferioli is leading with 34:14 advantage over Rafal Sonik, while Pablo Copetti is third, 44:58 behind. Gustavo Gallego, who started the day leading the Overall, did not have a good stage and went back to the ninth place after suffering mechanical mishaps that made him lose almost two and a half hours on Monday stage.
Daniel Mazzucco once again led the 4×4 quads category and extended his lead over Pablo Novara in the Overall. The owner of the Mazzucco Can Am Team set a time of 5:52:46 to complete the 330 timed kilometers of the day and was ahead his teammate Marcos Lopez by 26:51.
“I had a very complicated day. I got lost at the beginning and then a tire broke. I was almost all the time together with Pablo (Novara) until in the dunes I could make a difference and achieve a new stage win. It was a very hard day but it is great fun to go through completely new places like in the first section,” the winner of the section said.
In the Overall, Mazzucco leads with a total time of 10:58:48, beating Novara by 1:37:47, while Hernán Paredes appears in third place 1:42:17 later.
Orlando Terranova achieved a major victory on the second day of Desafío Ruta 40 Norte and is getting stronger at the top of the Cars Overall. With a time of 3:53:56, to complete the 330 kilometers of stage between Villa Union and Tingoasta, the driver from Mendoza managed to stretch his lead in the overall where he is in first place, 22:04 ahead Sebastian Halpern, who this afternoon was second.
“It was a very nice stage, but we also felt the altitude. He had a lot of cross country race. We drove 20 kilometers on roads and the rest were off track. When navigating, we were better than yesterday but the stage was very demanding for the tires, for the car and for us. Dakar should copy the stages from Desafío Ruta 40 because they are really hard stages,” Terranova said when arriving at Tinogasta bivouac.
The third position was for José García, who could not handle the attack of Halpern and yielded the second step of the podium.  Now Chevrolet S10 driver is one hour from the lead.
On the Way to Belén
Stage 3 Tinogasta – Belén  (303.97km on stage) will take place tomorrow. The stage will start at 8:15 am, 15 minutes ahead schedule, due to safety reasons. The first 15 bikes will start every 3 minutes and the rest will start every one minute.
The stage layout will again be a mixture of roads on fast dry rivers with some dunes on the way.