Yamaha Riders Make First Kilometres in the 2016 Dakar Rally

After yesterday’s agitation caused by the cancellation of the first special stage, the Yamaha riders were impatient for the 2016 Dakar Rally battle to officially kick off today. Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Alessandro Botturi and Hélder Rodrigues ranked within the top 13, while Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier De Soultrait did well to make up time after taking a fall, finishing in 29th and 51st place respectively.

As a result of yesterday’s storm in Cordoba, causing Dakar organisers to shorten the last part of today’s special stage, a challenging day was expected for this second stage of the race. The odometer took a significant leap of 687 kilometers, as the riders and their WR450F Rally units travelled from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas De Rio Hondo. The long special was made for those participants who love riding through hills and crossing rivers, whilst the fast routes also set up a high speed over the whole length.

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Alessandro Botturi, got under way with no pressure and demonstrated his good technical abilities and ease in rally competitions. Despite suffering a wrist-injury from falling down in a departure zone, he did well to keep his concentration during a difficult and very technical stage and classify in 11th place.

Keeping his eyes on his ultimate goal of finishing the 2016 Dakar Rally at the front, teammate Hélder Rodrigues rode a safe first special stage and kept his own rhythm. He achieved the objective he set for himself of staying within the first group without taking any risk and finished in 13th position.

Despite the WR450F Rally’s superb handling, there was one opponent that proved to be particularly challenging for the junior riders today; the mud. The muck prevented Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Van Beveren from fully displaying his abilities.

After securing his place on the Dakar prologue podium on Saturday, the Dakar-rookie had an open road ahead of him. He had carefully prepared his road-book for his first ever stage in the toughest rally in the world, experienced a typical Dakar special, which included crucial navigation and unforeseen challenges. He got bogged down in the mud and lost ten precious minutes in the overall classification. However, for Van Beveren, who turned 25 today, celebrating his birthday on the Dakar track with a 29th place finish for the day will remain an unforgettable memory.

Today’s stage promised to be a bit more tough also for his teammate Xavier De Soultrait. He started quite far down the field and aimed to pass the competitors ahead of him, despite the fast pace set by the front-runners, but drama struck. The junior broke his road-book reader during a fall, 30 kilometres into the stage. He was forced to stop and did some mechanic, therefore missing the opportunity to make a comeback, though he still booked progress in the overall classification. De Soultrait went from 117th place to the 51st position, while turning the pages of his road-book manually.

Tomorrow the Yamaha riders will go from Termas de Rio Hondo to Jujuy following a 663-kilometre stage that includes a 312-kilometres special.