Kevin Benavides leads the 2019 Silk Way Rally ahead of Sam Sunderland after three days of dramatic scenery through Russia and Mongolia.
Kevin Benavides took the honours on the third day of the 2019 Silk Way Rally, setting a time of 2:28:14 in the special ahead of his Monster Energy Honda Team team-mate, Joan Barreda, who got stuck in a hole earlier in the day.
The Rally reached Mongolia after three days and some impressively long hours in the saddle – 10 hours clocked up by the leading riders upon arrival in Ulan Bator today.
The event moved through distinct scenery changes since the Russian beginnings in almost enduro-like conditions, through the Taiga to arrive on Mongolian soil and the vast, open spaces – the arrival of harder track and wide-open trails of day three saw an immediate increase in speed.
Kevin Benavides leads the way
Stage three winner and overall rally leader after day three, Kevin Benavides, said afterwards: “Today was a different stage, a very long day: 10 hours on the bike. I enjoyed the special. I did not push as much as possible, but I tried to keep good pace and it was great to win on the day. Tomorrow I will have to open the track, not something I like, as it is not a good one for strategy. There are many days of racing left and you have to enjoy this Silk Way Rally stage by stage, something that I’m really doing.
Sunderland trading stage wins
Stage two winner and current second placed rider, Sam Sunderland seems happy with progress so far in 5000km event: “There was a change of country and 700 kilometres on the menu today, so it’s been a long day. There is such a big contrast in terms of terrain from the tight forest tracks in Russia to these big open plains and valleys here in Mongolia.
“All-in-all it’s been a good one – it’s never ideal to open on a 700-kilometre stage but someone has to do it and although I did make one mistake that cost me a few minutes, I didn’t lose too much time to the guys behind. There is still a long way to go, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Joan Barreda finished second fastest on day three to jump into third overall but times are tight between the top 10 riders and positions change daily as riders take turns to follow each other’s tracks. Laia Sanz currently lies in 13thoverall easing herself back into Rally after racing at Erzbergrodeo last month.
Stage four of the Silk Way Rally will riders on a circular route around the Mongolian capital city of Ulan-Bator. A total of 476.96 kilometres with 470.19 timed special so very little liason.
Stage three results, Silk Way Rally 2019:
- Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 2:28:14
- Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 2:28:44 +30 seconds
- Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:30:08 +1:54
- Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 2:31:00 +2:46
- Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 2:33:41 +5:27
Provisional standings after stage three, Silk Way Rally 2019:
- Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 5:20:42
- Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 5:23:36 +2:54
- Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 5:23:51 +3:09
- Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 5:25:01 +4:19
- Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Hero, 5:30:10 +9:28