Team HRC Argentinean Kevin Benavides scored an emphatic triumph in the fourth stage of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally – the second part of marathon – leaves him poised to seal overall victory tomorrow.
It was domination from start to finish for Kevin Benavides, who led throughout on the Honda CRF450 RALLY in today’s penultimate battle. After yesterday’s crucial win, Benavides was the first to set out this morning in a special stage that had been reduced by 34 kilometres, with the start moved to CP1. A total of 170 km, filled with troublesome navigation, played out for the most part, on speedy off-piste track, but with some work in the dunes too. The result sees Kevin Benavides jump two positions on the leaderboard where he now holds a 3’05 advantage over the nearest second-place rival with just one day to go. Tomorrow kicks off with a motocross-style start, followed by two laps of a 37 km circuit.
Benavides’ Team HRC companion, Ricky Brabec (U.S.A) turned out a solid performance chalking up a splendid fifth place. Today the Californian did far better with the navigation and pace in a far-from-easy while-knuckle stage. He maintains his 6th place in the overall.
“Today has been the happiest of the race so far. Apart from the result, I’m really pleased because I opened the way and I finished first, without having any references out in front of me.
“It was difficult to navigate with a lot of off-road, many dangers and tracks that were impossible to find. I was able to mark a difference. I really believed in my chances; I was very focused and it all worked out well. Last night we slept in the high mountains for the marathon stage in a very distinct bivouac.
“I wish to thank Ricky Brabec who gave his exhaust pipe over to me, as mine was in bad shape. It has been great team-work. I’d also like to thank the whole team for the great job that they’ve done up until now. Let’s see how the stage tomorrow goes.”