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Saudi Al-Rajhi aims for victory at the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina

CORDOBA: Saudi world champion Yazeed bin Mohammed Al-Rajhi is preparing for the second edition of the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina, the fourth round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC) to be held in the northwest of the country.

The rally will take place over six days from June 1 to 7 through the provinces of Cordoba, San Juan and La Rioja.

Sitting alongside him will be German navigator Timo Gottschalk, his partner since the 2023 Abu Dhabi Rally. Both will compete aboard a Toyota Hilux EVO T1U from the Belgium-based Overdrive Racing team.

The routes are completely new this year and also include passages through Cordoba and San Juan, which have been newly added to the race.

Al-Rajhi is aiming for victory in the Argentine stage this year after finishing third in the previous edition despite the challenging terrain. These tracks were previously used in stages of the Dakar Rally when Argentina hosted the competition from 2009 to 2018.

First held in 2010 and raced for nine years before resuming in Argentina last year as part of the World Long Distance Desert Rally Championship, the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally consists of five stages, three of which are circuits preceded by a 17km qualifying stage. The rally then heads west through La Rioja, finishing with a total distance of 3,045km. Known for its rugged and challenging terrain, the Argentine rally is similar to the Dakar Rally with its varied landscapes of gravel, open sand and high dunes.

The rally is named after the famous Route 40 in Argentina and runs along this legendary road, which, along with Route 66 in the USA, is the longest in South America and one of the longest in the world.

“I am very happy to return to the second edition of the Desafio Ruta 40,” said Al-Rajhi. “The first edition was tough and full of challenges, but we still managed to secure top positions. Let’s see what awaits us this season.”

“Argentina is not unknown to us. I took part in the Dakar Rally here for the first time in 2015, in a Toyota Hilux, with Timo as my navigator,” he added.

Al-Rajhi expressed his joy at racing in Argentina, saying: “I enjoy competing here. It feels like home. I have had a great fan base supporting me since 2015. The fans here are fantastic, always supportive and love motorsport. That’s why we are always happy to race in Argentina.”

Al-Rajhi expressed special thanks to his strategic partner Jameel for Motorsport for supporting and promoting his global and regional rally efforts.

German navigator Timo Gottschalk was also optimistic about the championship season and pointed to the upcoming challenge with Al-Rajhi.

“We are facing a new challenge this year. The first edition was extremely tough, but also entertaining. We have to be careful and hope that we will be successful in this round,” said Gottschalk.

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