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The canvas of the first stage of the Desafío Ruta 40 has been tinged with Team HRC colours. #honda CRF450 RALLYs occupied no less than the first six final positions, with a notable victory for #joanbarreda, laying down the gauntlet on day one.
There was no shortage of tricky navigation to deal with in the first and cold stage which started out in the Nihuil dunes and the salt flats of the Mendoza province. Next came a section of fast track with wild animals causing some of the riders a scare or two. Barreda, for example, was unable to avoid a collision with one, although he made it safely through the ordeal, before going on to take the stage victory.
Finishing behind Barreda was Team HRC colleague Paulo Gonçalves – winner of the 2015 Ruta 40 – who eased himself back into the race today and is sure to be competitive over the forthcoming stages. #kevinbenavides rounded out the podium. The Argentinean, who started out from first place from San Rafael, opened the track in the 309.54 kilometre special stage, finished with a five minute deficit to Barreda.
Honda South America Rally Team riders, Javier Pizzolito and Franco Caimi crossed the line ahead of Michael Metge, who had a hard fall in the dunes on a tough, troublesome first day at the Desafío Ruta 40.
Tomorrow the second stage will feature a 310.24 kilometre special timed stage and some 322 kilometres of liaison. The stage winds up in San Juan.
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