Argentina ran out of its two top candidates for victory in the Dakar rally 2022 since this wednesday Kevin Benavides (KTM) and Pablo Copetti (Yamaha) defected on motorcycles and ATVs. Mechanical failures left out Salta and Cordoba who were looking for victories in their categories, but defected at the beginning of the speed special.
The loss of both was in stage 10, Wadi Ad Dawasir-Bisha with a timed section of 375 kilometers and 384 of connection. Their defections were around the same time and it turned out a bucket of cold water. The two left with the objective of discounting the leaders. In the case of Benavides it was about ten minutes with the Austrian Matthias walkner (KTM). While Copetti tried to narrow the gap of 24 minutes with the French Alexander Giroud (Yamaha).
Benavides was out of the race at kilometer 133 of the special and the information provided by the organization revealed mechanical problems. Kevin had won in 2021 with Honda and this year he defended the crown with KTM and was looking to be the first to retain the title with two different brands.
Kevin was fifth in the general classification and he knew that this stage was key to be able to get closer to the top and to be in the top three and fight for victory. The Salteño started the competition with navigation problems in stage 1 that conditioned him to overcome in the rest of the sections. He did not win any part and this Wednesday was vital to his aspirations.
While Copetti, who was second in the quads, had problems with the engine and had to give up his chances of getting his first victory in quadricycles. On Tuesday he told Infobae that “stage ten or eleven are the most viable to reduce differences with Giroud”.
For now, the two riders did not arrive at the Bisha camp, which is the epicenter of the race this Wednesday, and they will also have a full stage on Thursday. On Friday the caravan will leave from here to Jeddah where the race will finish.
Now Orlando Newfoundland It appears as the main Argentine hope since the Mendoza is 38 minutes from the local Yazeed Al Rajhi, who is third in cars. Orly races with a prototype of the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team and seeks the first podium for Argentina in the category.
In the other divisionals Luciano Benavides placeholder image (Husqvarna), Kevin’s brother, fights for a top ten in motorcycles, the same that David zille (Can-Am) on UTV or Side by side.
The 2022 Dakar Rally has been very hard for the main Argentine hopefuls who hoped to win the victory from Saudi Arabia and the joys of 2021 will not be repeated, when Benavides himself won on two wheels and Manuel Andújar (also abandoned in this edition) imposed in quadricycles. The 43rd edition was the most successful for Argentina as it was able to triumph in two categories.