Cordoba (Argentina): Saudi world champion Yazeed bin Mohammed Al-Rajhi was crowned the winner of the 2024 Desafio Ruta 40 Rally in Argentina, marking the fourth round of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC). This victory makes him the first Saudi and third non-Argentine driver to win on Argentine soil since 2010, driving a Toyota Hilux.

Al-Rajhi and his German co-driver, Timo Gottschalk, clinched the title, finishing first by just 13 seconds. They recorded a total time of 17 hours, 38 minutes, and 21 seconds over six days on rough, technical gravel tracks from June 1st to 7th.

The Saudi champion secured victories in two of the five stages, finishing second in the remaining three, accumulating valuable points that placed him second in the W2RC standings after the Argentine rally. The duo’s remarkable performance leaves them just 25 points behind the leader, with the competition remaining open until the final round in Morocco this October.

The rally began with a prologue in Cordoba, where Al-Rajhi secured second place. After that, he dominated the first loop stage with great enthusiasm and won comfortably. In the second stage, the longest at 724 kilometers, he maintained his overall lead. The third stage, a 451-kilometer loop, saw the team perform brilliantly, keeping their lead. The fourth stage in La Rioja, covering 676 kilometers, was extremely tough, but Al-Rajhi drove cautiously to avoid any issues, finishing the stage still in the lead.

In the final stage, Al-Rajhi faced a thrilling challenge, with only one second separating him from his closest competitor in the provisional standings. Ultimately, Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk won by 40 seconds, securing a brave victory.

Covering a total distance of 3045 kilometers, including 1917 kilometers of special stages, the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally is one of the most prestigious and challenging rallies in Latin America. This victory marks Al-Rajhi’s first win in the Argentine rally.

Expressing his joy, Al-Rajhi said, “Winning by just seconds is an incredible feeling. It was a long and fierce battle, and I led skillfully every day. This victory is well-deserved for me and the team.”

“I am delighted with this win. I thank God for this victory, which crowned me with the title of the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally, making me the first Saudi and third non-Argentine driver to win on Argentine soil. It’s great to be back in Argentina. Last year, I finished third, and today I won the second edition of the Desafio Ruta 40 Rally.” Said Yazeed

Timo Gottschalk added, “It wasn’t for the faint-hearted. Yazeed fired another rocket in the final kilometers, overcoming every challenge. It was truly outstanding driving. We are thrilled with this victory and definitely deserve the upcoming summer break.”

Al-Rajhi thanked his strategic partner, Jameel Motors, for their support of his rally participation.

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