Desafio Ruta 40 rally results: Hero MotoSports in top 5


Ross Branch holds onto his lead in the 2024 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship.

India’s Hero MotoSports Team Rally successfully completed the 2024 edition of the Desafio Ruta 40 rally with a top-five result. With this, Ross Branch also holds on to his overall lead in the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship.

  1. Branch leads championship by 9 points from Brabec
  2. Hero second overall in manufacturers’ standings

Branch leads World Rally-Raid Championship

The Desafio Ruta 40 saw participants compete across a variety of different terrain, including fast and slippery tracks through mountain ranges, stony river beds and even dunes. The harsh winter in the region only added to the challenge.

Both Ross Branch and Sebastian Buhler put on a strong display, even leading stages at some points. Branch ended up finishing the rally in fifth place, which was enough for him to defend his championship lead. He currently holds a nine-point advantage over Honda’s Ricky Brabec.

“What a great week it has been at Desafio Ruta 40! Excellent route, and a lot of hard work – definitely a tough rally, but I enjoyed it well. Our competition has been really strong here, so we’ve got some work to do before we head to our next race in Morocco,” said Branch.

“We continue to hold the World Championship lead position, so we’re still in a good place. I look forward to defending it again at the last round.”

Buhler finished seventh overall. But he did bag a podium result in Stage 2 after setting the third-fastest time.

Cornejo learning the ropes

The rally also marked Jose ‘Nacho’ Cornejo’s first competitive outing with the Hero MotoSports team, following a six year stint with Honda. He fills the vacant spot at Hero following the retirement of Joaquim Rodrigues, who has since assumed the role of ‘Sportive Manager’ at the Indian team.

The Chilean racer initially struggled to find good rhythm with his new bike. “I’m quite happy to have joined my new team at a race in my region. The Hero MotoSports team has welcomed me very well, and everyone has been working hard to get me adapted to the bike. I’m a bit disappointed with not being able to give them the expected results, but we’ll work hard from now to reach the next race stronger,” said Cornejo, who finished just outside the top 10, in 12th place.

Hero also fielded Ramiro Barco as a test rider in the Rally 2 category. Unfortunately, he suffered a crash in Stage 3 and had to retire due to a leg injury.

Reflecting on the team’s performance in the rally, Hero MotoSports team manager Wolfgang Fischer said, “This was our first outing in South America this year with our latest addition to the team, Nacho Cornejo, and our new test rider Ramiro Barco. Our main target was indeed to defend the World Championship lead, which we managed with Ross’ fifth place finish. We did push for more, but the competition was very strong.”

“Overall the bikes have been working great, and the riders enjoyed the race well. Unfortunately, Ramiro had a crash and injured his leg, and we wish him a speedy recovery. Now we look forward to the big showdown in Morocco in October, for the World Championship finals.”

The team will now spend time preparing for the Rallye du Maroc, which takes place in October 2024. This will be the final round of the 2025 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, where Hero trails Honda in the manufacturer standings by 22 points.

Also see:

Hero MotoSports wins 2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge



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