Another complicated day in Fiambalá where the Monster Energy Honda Team colours shone in the immensity of the Argentine desert. Stage three of the Desafío Ruta 40 saw victory for Paulo Gonçalves and third place for Ricky Brabec.
Today’s Desafío Ruta 40 was originally scheduled to cover a total of 210.89 kilometres of special stage in the Fiambalá desert, with characteristics similar to those of the gruelling previous stage with off-piste and navigation through the dunes the order of the day. However, for security reasons, race authorities decided to reduce the mileage of the special to 141.04 km with the finish-line at the CP3 location. Competitors subsequently had to return by road to the Tinogasta bivouac.
The fastest rider of the day was again Paulo Gonçalves, eating almost three minutes into the lead of Pablo Quintanilla, the main rival for overall victory. The Portuguese Monster Energy Honda Team rider retakes the head of the overall leader board with a 1’13” advantage over the Chilean.
It proved a good stage for Ricky Brabec. Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider occupied third position some 5’10” adrift of his team-mate. Ricky is now sixth overall and will battle over the coming days to improve on this overall result.
Tomorrow, Thursday, sees the fourth stage, with the longest special of the race at 357.55 kilometres out of a total of 514.43. The action takes place between Tinogasta and Villa Union in the northwest of the province of La Rioja. The main characteristic of the day will be high mountain tracks at almost 4000 metres above sea level, some of which are in very poor shape. Riders will need their wits about them to avoid some of the potential hazards in the roadbook.