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2023 Desafio Ruta 40 route revealed

The eleventh Desafío Ruta 40 will be the fourth and penultimate round of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship, marking the first time the Argentinian race is on the calendar. The route was revealed on Friday.

The rally begins on 28 August in La Rioja, where a loop will take place for the opening stage before heading to Belén for Stage #2. Belén, located in Catamarca province, will conduct two loops for the third and fourth legs. The fifth and final stage will be a run northwards to Salta, the capital of the province by the same name.

Stage #1 will be approximately 400 kilometres in Special Stages and mostly consists of gravel before travelling on sand and dunes for 315 SS km to Belén. Stage #3 and #4 are a mixture of the three surfaces before being a gravel dash to Salta. In all, the race will comprise 2,440 kilometres including SS and liaison sections, with the former totalling 1,515 km.

All three cities have visited by the W2RC’s crown jewel Dakar Rally during its South America stretch in the 2010s. La Rioja hosted legs between 2009 through 2013 and again in 2016, while Belén did so in 2016 and 2018. Salta did so from 2014 through 2018, and was also used as the rest day site in 2014 and 2016. The trio were connected in 2016 when racers went from Uyuni in Bolivia to Salta for Stage #9, followed by a day off before going to Belén for Stages #8 and #9 and hitting La Rioja in the tenth.

Desafío Ruta 40, one of two W2RC legs in the Americas alongside the Sonora Rally in Mexico, was previously part of the Dakar Series in 2013 and 2015 and also appeared on the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship (the predecessor to the W2RC). 2018, won by Sebastián Halpern (Cars) and the late Paulo Gonçalves (Bikes), was the most recent edition.

2023 Desafio Ruta 40 route

StageStartFinishLiaison DistanceSpecial Stage DistanceTotal DistanceDate
1La RiojaLa Rioja260 km400 km660 km28 August
2La RiojaBelén150 km315 km465 km29 August
3BelénBelén180 km270 km450 km30 August
4BelénBelén0 km300 km300 km31 August
5BelénSalta335 km230 km565 km1 September
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