With both of his KTM Factory team-mates forced to retire earlier in the event, Matthias Walkner has been left to fly the flag for KTM on his own. The Austrian had a better day today despite the special stage being nearly one-hundred percent off-piste. Times were very tight – the top-ten only separated by 30 minutes after nearly 500km of riding. Walkner’s performance placed him seventh on the stage, a mere 12 minutes behind the winner.
Following the tracks of the leading riders, Walkner was able to increase his pace as his feeling on the bike improved. With his confidence growing, he was pleased with how the day went.
Walkner: “That was a really long and hard day again, but I feel much happier with the way I performed. With most of the stage being off-road in rivers and over dunes, it was very physically demanding. Starting nearer the back and being able to follow some tracks today was a real help. With navigation not being so critical I was able to work on my pace.
“We’re three days into the rally now and it has been a tough one. My feeling on the bike is getting better and because of that I felt I could push more today. I started to enjoy myself again and felt much more confident. My speed isn’t quite where it needs to be yet but it will come.
“Over the remaining two days I plan to try and keep on improving and working on my technique. After the mistakes early on, it will be difficult to move up the standings, but I have a good opportunity to get more valuable time on the bike.”
The 535km stage four of the 2017 Desafio Ruta 40 rally leaves the small city of Belen and heads north for the majority of the route. After a large loop, the riders head east into the town of Tafí del Valle.
Provisional Results Stage Three – Desafio Ruta 40 2017
1. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 4:17:29
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 4:19:33 +2:04
3. Ricky Bravec (USA), Honda, 4:19:37 +2:08
4. Michael Metge (FRA), Honda, 4:20:30 +3:01
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 4:20:34 +3:05
7. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:29:48 +12:19
8. Martin Duplessis (ARG), KTM, 4:39:50 +22:21
10. Daniel Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 4:48:07 +30:38
Provisional Standings – Desafio Ruta 40 after 3 of 5 stages
1. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 12:04:58
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 12:07:15 +2:17
3. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 2:34:16 +29:18
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 12:50:54 +45:56
5. Ricky Bravec (USA), Honda, 13:02:26 +27:28
6. Martin Duplessis (ARG), KTM, 13:23:47 +1:18:49
7. Daniel Nosiglia (BOL), KTM, 13:32:15 +1:27:17
8. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 14:14:08 +2:09:10
10. Jetro Salazar (ECU), KTM, 15:27:48 +3:22:50