Video highlights and results from stage three of the 2024 Desafio Ruta 40 World Rally-Raid Championship in Argentina which dishes up an “absolute nightmare” route which sees Sunderland go out and Ricky Brabec get the better of his HRC teammates.

Stage 3 of the 12th edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 unfolded in a pure cross-country blast around San Juan, a change of scenery following two rally-style stages.

Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda) took his second win of the week in Rally GP and vaulted into the overall lead ahead of Honda teammate Tosha Schareina second and overnight leader, Adrien Van Beveren, slipped to the bottom step of an all-Honda podium. The world championship leader, Ross Branch (Hero MotoSports), is fifth.

In Rally 2, Romain Dumontier (Team Honda) triumphed over Bradley Cox (BAS World KTM Racing) again and retained the pole position. Fernando Hernández (MED Racing) also claimed a second consecutive win in Rally 3 and padded his lead.


Brabec calls the shots

Pablo Eli, the mastermind behind the route of the rally, had warned that stage 3 would be “an absolute nightmare” for navigation.

Adrien Van Beveren, who started first on the stage after his win yesterday, paid the price, as did the Hero riders Ross Branch and Sebastian Bühler, who lost precious minutes searching for their bearings at a race which we are reminded does not award bonus time for riders leading like other races including Dakar.

A true nail-biter at the halfway point, with three riders in a dead heat (!) at km 174, the special ultimately swung in favour of the sixth man on the road, Ricky Brabec, who avoided any errors and with five wheel tracks ahead to aid his progress, galloped away.

The Dakar champ added a second stage success to his tally while Honda swept the podium once again with the biggest gaps seen all week: 3′27″ ahead of Skyler Howes and 3′38″ clear of Tosha Schareina.

Stage two winner Van Beveren dropped 5′52″ and surrendered the overall lead to Brabec who now leads Schareina by 1′34″, VBA by 3′38″ and Howes by 5′28″.

Branch is fifth at 9′28″, but the Botswanan has leapfrogged his teammate Bühler and is poised to gain an extra point in the fight for the championship, which he currently leads.

It could be a crucial point in the scrap for the riders' and manufacturers’ titles, which increasingly seem destined to go down to the wire in Morocco…

The big kahunas of the Rally 2 class, Romain Dumontier and Bradley Cox, stayed glued together until the Frenchman made his move in the mad dash to the line to win by 1′47″ and now leads his rival by 3′12″ in the overall. The pair also clocked top 10 scratch results for the stage – although the RallyGP class now drops to nine after Sam Sunderland retired just short of 200km. His team are a little vauge about the reasons for his retirement with no crash or injury and no mechanical problems reported.

In Rally 3, the seasoned Fernando Hernández (MED Racing) is slowly but steadily powering away from John Medina (Xraids Experience). Victorious today by 6′28″, the Argentinian now commands a 14′30″ lead over the Chilean, with Eduardo Alan still third.

Desafio Ruta 40 stage 3 results:


Desafio Ruta 40 classification after stage 3 (RallyGP):


Tomorrow, the rally will head to La Rioja on a 676 km course, including 412 km against the clock.


Photo Credit: A.S.O E.Bauer | DPPI