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2016 Dakar Starts Second Week; Yamaha’s Riders Stand Firm Against Tough Competition

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The Yamaha riders are back on track! After a day off yesterday, today’s stage marked the entry into the second part of the rally and a change in programme for the extreme enduro competitors. They faced the first dune sections of the 2016 edition combined with newly enforced navigational challenges on the track, upping the rally’s difficulty. The leading group kept the pressure on and maintained a fast race pace and as a result only a tiny time difference divided the first ten riders. Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s rider Hélder Rodrigues kept his momentum and signed off the eighth stage with a strong sixth position. His teammate Alessandro Botturi finished 12th and Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s riders Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier De Soultrait also did well, ending the day in 10th and 13th place respectively.

The Yamaha riders hit the ground running at top speed at the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally, the start of the second part of the competition. Today’s travels consisted of a 766-kilometre journey from Salta to Belén, including a 393-kilometre race, divided up in two special sections.

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Rodrigues was eager to go out to conquer the dunes in a special specifically designed to test the riders’ skills when dealing with navigation subtleties.

He kept his level of focus after his day off. Despite his persistent flu, he was determined to take advantage of the second week right from the start. He staunchly kept in front of his relentless rivals to secure seventh place in the overall classification after claiming sixth position in today’s stage, with just a three-minute gap to the podium finishers.

Teammate Botturi did his job as a supporting rider and covered Rodrigues’ back. The Italian rider didn’t attack as much as he is capable of, as the dunes made his injured wrist even more painful. He had to be content with 12th position both on today’s stage and in the general standings.

Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team Van Beveren continued to demonstrate his qualities today by riding cleverly and not making any mistakes in the challenging navigational sections. The junior gave a solid top-10 performance today that placed him 11th in the general classification.

Fellow junior rider De Soultrait’s efforts also paid off, finishing 13th in today’s stage, right behind Botturi. He’s been consistently moving up in the standings since the third stage and got the satisfaction to gain more places in the overall timesheet of the day, climbing up to 19th in the rankings.

In the quad category, the Patronellis are ruling the field! Though Marcos and Alejandro were a bit hassled during the first kilometres of the race by their challenging rivals willing to reverse the standings that were established first week, the brothers quickly responded and took over the first two positions on the track. They held these positions until the finish and maintained the leadership in the overall classification, Marcos first and Alejandro second, with a comfortable 30-minute advantage.

Tomorrow the Yamaha riders will leave the bivouac for the second marathon stage that loops back to Belén and will have the competitors stay in an isolated bivouac. It will be a very demanding off-piste special for the bike and the riders; the participants will have to keep their minds clear to make the right navigational choices – a major challenge in the upcoming ninth stage.

To track Yamaha’s riders during tomorrow’s seventh stage, click HERE.

Additionally, you can follow Yamaha’s progress in the Dakar Rally HERE and click HERE for more imagery of Dakar 2016.

Hélder Rodrigues, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team

6th / +00:09:19, 7th / 00:30:51

“We started this second week of competition with a tough and long special and a second timed section, which was very technical and that we completed under rainfall. I did not manage to ride as fast and push as much as I planned on the track because I did not have a lot of strength when I woke up this morning. Nevertheless there is some positive to take from this day: the Yamaha crew built a very good new WR450F Rally, that’s well performing, efficient and reliable. I can count on the bike for the upcoming marathon stage tomorrow, in which I expect to get a better result.”

Alessandro Botturi, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team

12th / +00:18:18, 12th / +00:54:43

“It was a difficult start for the second week of the competition. I wanted to attack stronger, but I still don’t have my full abilities with my injured wrist, which is a bit frustrating. I felt a lot of pain in the dunes and had to moderate my riding to preserve my arm. I wanted to cover Rodrigues’ back and brought my WR450F Rally back in good shape before the marathon stage; I did my job for the Yamaha crew. I still have a good overall position and I’m staying confident to get to the finish line in Rosario at the end of the week.”

Adrien Van Beveren, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team

10th / +00:15:07, 11th / +00:53:47

“I was a hundred per cent focused today. I decided to lower the pace on purpose because I knew the navigation would be complex and I really wanted to avoid any mistakes. I rode the whole stage alone and did not pay attention to the other competitors’ tracks; I wanted to complete the navigation by myself for the first Dakar Rally special of this kind. I’m happy with today’s result as I achieved my goal to not make any mistakes. Let’s do it again tomorrow!”

Xavier De Soultrait, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team

13th / +00:19:58, 19th / +01:33:01

“Such a good ride today! The Dakar has really started from this eighth stage, which was a typical rally special: fast riding on long route sections in dunes and with a lot of navigation. It’s what I like the most in the Dakar competition. I rode faster today and I am glad the WR450F Rally is so solid, it is important to have a good machine that takes you the distance. I’m climbing up in the classification today and that’s a true satisfaction for me before the marathon stage.”

Alexandre Kowalski, Yamalube Yamaha Rally Teams Director

“It was a difficult eighth stage: we really dived into the heart of the Dakar Rally. It was the first special that was full of sand and navigation and, just like the competitors that we saw suffering today, our riders had a hard time too. Hélder Rodrigues suffered from a return of his illness; he completed the stage but was in lacking in energy. Riding in dunes did not help Alessandro Botturi to recover from his injury either; it made it even worse. Yamaha’s rookie, Adrien Van Beveren, did a good job for his first navigation section, that he completed without making any mistakes. Xavier De Soultrait is asserting himself step by step, as the Dakar gets harder. The next two days will be important for the race, with tomorrow’s marathon stage and the upcoming tenth stage, again consisting of dunes and navigation. The riders should focus in order not to make any mistakes and preserve their bikes on the road to the Dakar finish line.”

Dakar Rally Classification of Stage 8

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 04:33:14
2. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT), Honda, 04:38:31, +00:05:17
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 04:39:46, +00:06:32
4. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 04:41:20, +00:08:06
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 04:41:20, +00:08:06
6.Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 04:42:33, +00:09:19
7. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), KTM, 04:44:01, +00:10:47
8. Antoine Méo (FRA), KTM, 04:44:04, +00:10:50
9. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), Sherco TVS, 04:44:22, +00:11:08
10. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 04:48:21, +00:15:07
11. Armand Monleon (ESP), KTM, 04:50:56, +00:17:42
12.Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 04:51:32, +00:18:18
13. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 04:53:12, +00:19:58
14. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 04:53:13, +00:19:59
15. Alain Duclos (FRA), Sherco TVS, 04:55:35, +00:22:21
16. Adrien Metge (FRA), Honda, 04:55:51, +00:22:37
17. Jordi Viladoms (ESP), KTM, 04:57:10, +00:23:56
18. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 04:57:56, +00:24:42
19. Ivan Cervantes Montero (ESP), KTM, 05:01:42, +00:28:28
20. Jacopo Cerutti (ITA), Huqsvarna, 05:02:03, +00:28:49
21. Frans Verhoeven (NLD), Yamaha, 05:04:24, +00:031:10
39. Bruno Da Costa (FRA), Yamaha, 05:37:24, +01:04:10
40. Mauricio Javier Gomez (ARG), Yamaha, 05:40:28, +01:07:14

Dakar Rally General Classification of Event after Leg 8

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 27:28:56
2. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT), Honda, 27:31:01, +00:02:05
3. Stefan Skitvo (SVK), KTM, 27:43:10, + 00:14:14
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 27:50:22, +00:21:26
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 27:54:51, +00:25:55
6. Antoine Méo (FRA), KTM, 27:57:40, +00:28 :44
7.Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 28:22:43, +00:53:47
8. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), KTM, 28:06:28, +00:37:32
9. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), Sherco TVS, 28:08:37, +00:39:41
10. Alain Duclos (FRA), Sherco TVS, 28:18:37, +00:49:41
11.Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 28:22:43, +00:53:47
12. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 28:23:39, +00:54:43

13. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 28:23:50, +00:54:54
14. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 28:35:02, +01:06:06
15. Jordi Viladoms (ESP), KTM, 28:43:39, +01:14:43
16. Ivan Cervantes Montero (ESP), KTM, 28:51:11, +01:22:15
17. Adrien Metge (FRA), Honda, 28:51:47, +01:22:51
18. Armand Monleon (ESP), KTM, 28:51:55, +01:22:59
19. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 29:01:57, +01:33:01
20. Emanuel Gyenes (ROU), KTM, 29:04:25, +01:35:29
24. Frans Verhoeven (NLD), Yamaha, 29:11:18, +01:33:01
39. Bruno Da Costa (FRA), Yamaha, 31:36:53, +04:07:57
48. Mauricio Javier Gomez (ARG), Yamaha, 37:27:20, 06:58:24