Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides has topped the timesheets on day three of the 2022 Andalucia Rally. Racing skillfully through what the organizers described as the toughest stage of the event, the KTM 450 RALLY rider maintained his focus throughout the 284-kilometer special to clinch the win by a narrow 18 seconds. Benavides now lies second overall with one day left to race.
Friday’s stage two of the Andalucia Rally was cancelled due to bad weather, and with similar conditions threatening a repeat this morning, riders were glad to get the 425-kilometer stage three underway, despite a 90-minute delay.
Although quickest on stage one, Kevin Benavides was subsequently awarded a six-minute penalty for speeding, which resulted in the Argentinian setting off fourth into today's timed special. Keen to make the most of his later start position, Benavides set about delivering a strong pace right from the start.
A small mistake before the first refueling stop cost Kevin around one minute, which only further motivated the 2021 Dakar Champion to make up ground over the remainder of the stage. Despite times being very close at the midway point of the special, with the top seven riders separated by less than two minutes, Benavides was able to steadily close in on the leader, clawing back time to ultimately take the win by 18 seconds.
The result elevates the Red Bull KTM rider to second place in the provisional overall rally standings, less than three minutes down on the leader, with just the final day of rallying left to race.
Kevin Benavides: “My second stage win of the rally, but this one was clean with no penalties! I did actually make a mistake early on in one of the speed zones where I lost maybe a minute on the other guys. After realizing that at the refueling, I knew I had to really push for the rest of the stage. I really enjoyed the stage – the tracks and terrain here really suit me, and I felt comfortable on the bike all day, even when racing over the different types of ground. At the end I had a good day and was finally able to officially win a stage. I’m lying second in the overall now, which is great. And even though it’s a slightly shorter day tomorrow, anything can happen in rally, so I’ll try to stay focused and hopefully come out with a strong finish.”
The Andalucia Rally continues tomorrow with the fourth and final stage, totaling 400 kilometers with a short timed special of 100 kilometers.
Provisional Results – 2022 Andalucia Rally, Stage 3
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:46:32
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:48:22 +1:50
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 3:49:35 +3:03
4. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:50:30 +3:58
5. 3:51:12 +4:40
Provisional Standings – 2022 Andalucia Rally (after 3 of 4 stages)
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 8:33:55
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 8:36:53 +2:58
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 8:39:01 +5:06
4. Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 8:44:50 +10:55
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 8:45:27 +11:32