Matthias Walkner suffered with navigational problems early in the stage. The Austrian, having lost time on the leaders, used his experience to finish the stage as quickly yet safely as possible. Walkner completed the 336 km special stage in four hours 42 minutes – placing him eighth in the provisional event standings.
Walkner: “That was one of the hardest stages of my whole rally career. I made a mistake early on but we need to look back at that because other riders had a similar problem. After that, and losing a lot of time, I tried to push but the stage was incredibly physical. I am happy to have reached the finish line in one piece, but the result was not what I had hoped for. There are still three days to go, so I will rest now and try to focus again for tomorrow.“
Opening the course this morning, Sam Sunderland was always going to have a difficult time at the front of the group. In what turned out to be an extremely difficult stage to navigate, many riders had trouble successfully staying on the route.
Trying to make up time lost on the leaders, Sunderland fell from his KTM 450 RALLY. With his vision impaired, he had no choice but to ask for medical assistance to help him reach the refuelling station. It was there he decided to retire from the stage.
Sunderland: “Obviously, it’s been a disappointing day for me. After making a small mistake on the road book I was pushing hard to catch up. I hit a big rock in a riverbed and ended up crashing heavily and hitting my head. I got back on and managed to make it to the neutralisation, but unfortunately, I had suffered a concussion and it wasn’t safe for me to continue.
“I’m glad that the rest of me is ok, and I’m not too badly hurt. Now I have to concentrate on the remaining round of the championship and of course, beyond that, the Dakar.”
Stage three of the 2017 Desafio Ruta 40 leaves Tinogasta heading east into the Catamarca region before circling around and finishing at the small town of Belen.
Provisional Results Stage Two – Desafio Ruta 40 2017
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:56:14
2. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 3:59:33 +3:19
3. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 4:05:13 +8:59
4. Jonathan Barragan (ESP), KTM, 4:21:38 +25:24
5. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 4:22:20 +26:06
6. Martin Duplessis (ARG), KTM, 4:23:42 +27:28
7. Daniel Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 4:27:13 +30:59
10. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:42:35 +46:21
Provisional Standings – Desafio Ruta 40 after 2 of 5 stages
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 7:46:41
2. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 7:47:29 +48 seconds
3. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 8:06:48 +20:07
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 8:31:21 +44:40
5. Ricky Bravec (USA), Honda, 8:39:49 +53:08
6. Martin Duplessis (ARG), KTM, 8:43:57 +57:16
7. Daniel Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 8:44:08 +57:27
8. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 9:24:20 +1:37:39
9. Jonathan Barragan (ESP), KTM, 9:30:30 +1:43:49