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The other ’10’ of Argentina

The other '10' of Argentina

Don’t look for Messi, neither for Maradona, nor think about a soccer ball. The 10 on this occasion is far from the playing fields and is simply the metaphor of an Argentine who, with the number 47, has just won his second Dakar after surviving the toughest rally in the world. Kevin Benavides has once again touched the sky in a 45th edition where along with Barreda, Cornejo and Price, they also became the only riders who were able to win a stage in all the editions that were held in Saudi Arabia. Although, without a doubt, those of this year have an added merit due to all the difficulties of a race that has been more selective than ever with its applicants. Of the top 10 favorites each driver spoke about, the desert ruled out three with hardly any mercy or margin for their demands (Sunderland, Brabec and Joan), while KTM did the rest for their bike.

On a day like today, victories were the least important thing, but they were relevant enough to understand why the oldest of the Benavides family has reached this point. The Argentinian carried his own strategy to the end, without giving in to insufficient mercy on the part of the bonuses, and only came out to win when it really had to. On Saturday, to record that this could be his Dakar again and on Sunday, to close an edition in style where the work ended up imposing Price’s talent. It was a three-way finish, with Howes 1:31 from victory on the final stage, but the fight for the clock ended up being a battle between teammates who return the triumph to the Austrian headquarters after a heart attack pulse.

Equipment orders were never produced, both pilots assured it in the previous one and confirmed it on the route, with a pulse in which at the first checkpoint Kevin had regained the 12 seconds that separated him from the lead! At that time the thousandths gave Price the winner, but the Australian suffered again and From the second reference, the balance tipped in favor of the Argentine. That story from 2019, the date of Toby’s last Touareg, was useless, in which the Australian took the lead for the first time in the penultimate stage, won the last one and took the Dakar. Because even though the script was fulfilled, he did it with a completely different ending.

The last stage was not one of those that characterized the Dakar as a mere formality. It became one more vindication of the harshness of this edition and In the face of difficulties, the strength of a pilot who touched the sky again for 43 seconds shone. It is the closest victory in history, improving that of Sunderland in the last edition that the Touareg gave him by 3:27. The Briton suffered in the desert, along with Brabec and Barreda, saying goodbye prematurely to an edition in which Benavides now welcomes him in his showcases. Kevin’s second flies to Argentina. The other ’10’ is celebrating.

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