After yesterday’s mixed first day it was essential for the Yamaha riders to keep up the pace and stay within the leading group on the third stage of the Dakar challenge, aboard their WR450F Rally. Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders Hélder Rodrigues and Alessandro Botturi, who both faced medical issues, ranked within the top 18, but it was Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren who shone the most. The Dakar-rookie secured a solid seventh position, whilst teammate Xavier De Soultrait started to move upwards to finish 34th.
After yesterday’s relatively easy-going weather for the competitors, consisting of blazing sunshine and sweltering heat, it was a different scenario today on the third stage. Besides battling against the chrono, the riders also had to deal with unpredictable weather conditions during the 550-kilometre journey from Termas de Río Hondo to San Salvador De Jujuy. The competitors soared on a 200-kilometre special section, a shortened version due to storm and rainfall on the first half of the course.
The Yamaha-riders had to keep their speed and heads up in a special that required their complete focus. It was essential to handle the WR450F Rally well in the mountain sections and slippery passageways of today’s route, that were full of piled up dust.
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Botturi started the day with a wrist injury, caused by a fall in stage two. He bravely rode his Yamaha back to the bivouac and minimised the consequences on his clocked time. He ended his charge with an encouraging 14th position overall, despite his physical suffering, which he hopes to take care of before tomorrow’s marathon stage’s departure.
His teammate, Hélder Rodrigues, wasn’t able to fully express his abilities today. Despite being weakened by flu, with a fever and little energy, he still featured in the leading group and secured 18th position, with less than a five-minute gap to the man in first place. The Portuguese rider, who is competing in his tenth rally, remains confident for the upcoming stages, as his experience has taught him that a stable pace could pay off big at the finish line.
Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren was hungry to add more kilometres to his WR450F Rally’s odometer and showed that he is up to par with the most experienced competitors in the field. The Frenchman made a good start in his first Dakar Rally appearance and is determined to learn from and improve after each stage. He is the embodiment of a new generation Dakar riders; riding fast and determined to shake-up the established order, as he showed today when he finished the stage in seventh position.
Fellow junior-rider Xavier De Soultrait was in a hurry to gain places in the overall classification, after a difficult prologue and first stage. He progressed steadily and ended up ranking 34th. For him to reach his goal of joining Van Beveren in the leading group is a matter of time, especially if he rides a cleverly controlled upcoming marathon stage.
Tomorrow the Yamaha riders will get underway and will be left to their own devices for the first marathon stage. This 630-kilometre circular route leads from Jujuy to Jujuy and has to be completed without assistance from Yamaha’s mechanics. The riders will meet up with Yamaha’s assisting crew two days later, in Uyuni’s bivouac in Bolivia.
You can stay up-to-date and follow all the Dakar action using the live tracking application. To track Yamaha’s riders during the marathon stage, click HERE.
Alessandro Botturi, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
12th / +00:03:56, overall 17th/ +00:10:03
“It was a tough day for me, as my right wrist is painful since yesterday when I fell down in the second stage. I had to go beyond myself today to get to the finish. I wanted to push harder on the track but I did not have my full abilities to do better. My chrono is still good and that is very positive. I will rest tonight and sleep well, so I’ll be ready for tomorrow’s marathon stage.”
Hélder Rodrigues, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
18th / +00:04:11, overall 14th/ +00:08:11
“Another day of the Dakar Rally has come to a close and I enjoyed this stage’s route. It is true that the last two days were a bit hard for me, as I felt sick because of the changing weather conditions, but I think I will get better in the next couple of days! Almost all the conditions are in place for a favourable result, so I will rest tonight and do my best to keep a good chrono tomorrow. I’m not that far behind in the classification and still have time to prove what I am capable of. The junior, Adrien Van Beveren, is doing a good job and that is good for the whole Yamaha team.”
Adrien Van Beveren, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team
7th / +00:02:02, overall 24th/ +00:15:24
“This stage was a 100 per cent full of pleasure for me: speed, sliding and adrenaline. I had a very good feeling on my WR450F Rally and that helped me feel more confident. It was a typical rally track today, with open road and long curves, my favourite kind! I want to keep going like this on the next stages of the Dakar Rally. I’m having fun and I’m learning a lot from one day to another. I got a good result today, but I don’t want to get too excited by this; I should stay concentrated.”
Xavier De Soultrait, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team
34th / +00:07:07, overall 46th/ +00:38:23
“It’s a bit frustrating to start the stage in the back because it means that you ride less fast. Today we had a lot of dust on the track in the back of the field and then, after the shower, the route became slippery. This made the job harder for me, as I had to be careful while passing other competitors. I feel now that it’s going to be better and better for me, stage after stage. I have a very good feeling on my WR450F Rally and I feel confident for the next steps of the race.”
Alexandre Kowalski, Yamalube Yamaha Rally Teams Director
“Today the special was shortened, so it was difficult to create gaps with only 200-kilometres to race on. Our Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders did the job by bringing the WR450F Rally back in the bivouac, despite the fact that Hélder is sick and Alessandro injured. The good surprise came from Adrien, who confirmed his good prologue result and his great potential. We don’t want him to get too excited but he started with a good tempo and didn’t take any risks. Xavier rode safely today. The race is long and he has time to make his comeback amongst the frontrunners. We have now have to set the bikes up well and prepare the riders for two difficult days at the marathon stage without assistance.“
Dakar Rally Classification of Leg 3
1. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP), Honda, 02:30:37
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 02:31:03, +00:00:26
3. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT), Honda, 02:31:29, +00:00:52
4. Antoine Méo (FRA), KTM, 02h31h30, +00:00:53
5. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 02:31:34, +00:00:57
6. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 02:31:55, +00:01:18
7. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 02:32:39, +00:02:02
8. Gerard Farres Guel (ESP), KTM, 02:32:49, +00:02:12
9. Alain Duclos (FRA), Sherco TVS, 02:32:49, +00:02:21
10. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 02:33:29, +00:02:52
11. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), Sherco TVS, 02:33:44, +00:03:07
12. Txomin Arana (ESP), Huqsvarna, 02:33:48, +00:03:11
13. Olivier Pain (FRA), KTM, 02:34:18, +00:03:41
14. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 02:34:33, +00:03:56
15. Michael Metge (FRA), Honda, 02:34:38, +00:04:01
16. Emanuel Gyenes (ROU), KTM, 02:34:44, +00:04:07
17. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 02:34:44, +00:04:07
18.Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 02:34:48, +00:04:11
34.Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 02:37:44, +00:07:07
48. Mauricio Javier Gomez (ARG), Yamaha, 02:42:38, 00:12;01
76. Bruno Da Costa (FRA), Yamaha, 02h54m59s +23m56s
99. Ariel Esteban Jove Lopez (ARG), Yamaha, 03:01:38, +00:30:35
Dakar Rally General Classification of Event after Leg 3
1. Stefan Skitvo (SVK), KTM, 06:27:04
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 06:27:38, +00:00:34
3. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP), Honda, 06:27:50, +00:00:46
4. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT), Honda, 06:27:58, +00:00:54
5. Alain Duclos (FRA), Sherco TVS, 06:28:00, +00:00:56
6. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 06:28:37, +00:01:33
7. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 06:30:28, +00:03:24
8. Ruben Faria (PRT), Husqvarna, 06:30:47, +00:03:43
9. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 06:31:53, +00:04:49
10. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), Sherco TVS, 06:33:23, +00:06:19
11. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), KTM, 06:34:29, +00:07:25
12. Antoine Méo (FRA), KTM, 06:34:38, +00:07:34
13. Ivan Jakes (SVK), KTM, 06:35:09, 00:08:05
14.Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 06:35:15, +00:08:11
15. Ivan Cervantes Montero (ESP), KTM, 06:36:23, +00:09:19
16. David Casteu (FRA), KTM, 06;36:48, +00:09:44
17.Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 06:37:07, +00:10:03
24.Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 06:42:28, +00:15:24
34. Frans Verhoeven (NLD), Yamaha, 06:51:33, +00:24:29
46.Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 07:05:27, +00:38:23
57. Bruno Da Costa (FRA), Yamaha, 07:19:30, +00:52:26
59. Mauricio Javier Gomez (ARG), Yamaha, 07:22:21, +00:55:17
112. Ariel Esteban Jove Lopez (ARG), Yamaha, 08:17:01, +01:49:57
See more of MD’s great photography: