Topping the timesheets right up until the final few kilometers of the special, a small mistake cost Kevin around 20 seconds, and the stage win. However, despite incurring a six-minute penalty on day one, the Red Bull KTM rider’s consistent performance throughout the event secured him second place overall, just over three minutes from the eventual winner.
With the 2022 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship completed, attention now turns to round one of the 2023 season – the Dakar Rally. Over the next two months, Benavides, along with teammates Matthias Walkner and Toby Price, will continue the testing and development of their KTM 450 RALLY machines in preparation for the toughest event on the calendar.
Kevin Benavides: “It was a good stage for me today. It was really tricky, there was a lot of navigation as well as a lot of mountains and kind of enduro-style tracks. I knew that everyone would push today and so I really had to go for it – I only lost about 15 seconds to Adrien (Van Beveren), even though I was opening the stage, so I’m really happy with that. Unfortunately, losing stage two due to the weather and with the event so short, I couldn’t quite regain the time I lost to the penalty on day one. It’s frustrating, but in the end, I know I did my best here and I have a really strong pace. With two months to go to Dakar I’m feeling really confident. This season doesn’t look so good on paper, I had an issue at the Dakar, and again in Abu Dhabi, but my speed has been right up there with the best. The team have done a great job with the bike, and it has worked well both here in Spain and at the previous round in Morocco, so that’s super encouraging, too. We have some time now to finish testing and prepare ourselves for the 2023 Dakar. I’m really looking forward to it, and hope to finish on top.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will be back in action in just over two months’ time at the iconic Dakar Rally, starting December 31 in Saudi Arabia.
Provisional Results – 2022 Andalucia Rally, Stage 4
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 1:22:53
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 1:23:09 +0:16
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 1:24:24 +1:31
4. Tosha Schareina (ESP), KTM, 1:24:36 +1:43
5. Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 1:24:53 +2:00
Provisional Standings – 2022 Andalucia Rally (after 4 of 4 stages)
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 9:58:48
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 10:02:02 +3:14
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 10:05:25 +6:37
4. Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 10:11:43 +12:55
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 10:14:10 +15:22