Dakar Rally’s second marathon stage has been half-completed under high temperatures in Argentina. Today’s stage was shortened due to extreme weather conditions, a recurring theme during this 2016 competition. The four Yamaha riders and their WR450F Rally units have been greatly challenged by the heat but did a good job and climbed up a few places in the general classification. Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Hélder Rodrigues and Alessandro Botturi classified in ninth and twelfth position in today’s stage, whilst Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier De Soultrait crossed the finish line in seventh and eleventh respectively.

The ninth stage was announced as the toughest special of the 2016 Dakar Rally. Heat, navigation and changing off-piste routes were the main challenges for the competitors and their machines.

Quickly after the start, many bike and quad riders were in trouble because of the severe heat in the dunes. For security reasons, Etienne Lavigne, Dakar Rally’s Director, decided to stop the race right after CP2. This is the fourth stage to be shortened since the beginning of the competition and one stage was cancelled.

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Rodrigues had a bad start, as had a fall in the first kilometres of the race. However, he fought hard to keep a good tempo until the shortened end of the special. His efforts paid off as he managed to stay at the top of the leader board; Rodrigues ranked ninth in today’s stage and sixth in the overall classification.

Teammate Botturi classified 12th in the stage, which is a good result, especially taking into consideration his painful wrist injury. He improved his position in the overall ranking and earned himself a place in the top-10.

Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Van Beveren went beyond expectations as he signed off in seventh place today. Day after day, the junior confirms his great potential and taste for the rally. He is learning fast and is definitely a safe bet for Yamaha’s future in rally-raid competitions.

Fellow junior, Xavier De Soultrait took his quest to return to the front to the next level. He made his comeback at today’s sandy stage, climbing up in the overall timesheets to the fifteen best riders of this Dakar Rally.

In the quad category, the Patronelli family had to concede the first place of this ninth stage’s podium by thirty seconds. It was fellow Argentinian and Yamaha rider, Pablo Copetti, who took the advantage on this shortened special aboard his Yamaha Raptor 700. Nevertheless Marcos and Alejandro Patronelli remain strongly established as the leaders in the Dakar overall classification; they stand first and second respectively with a forty minute gap to their closest rival, the Peruvian Hernandez Alexis, also a Yamaha-rider.

Yamaha is glad to have all its riders joining the isolated bivouac in Belén in good shape. There the riders will have to rest and reset their bikes, with few tools, to get ready for tomorrow’s Fiambala dunes. For the tenth stage of the Dakar Rally, they will have to demonstrate their aptitude for extreme endurance in a “super special section” with an exceptional starting order: the ten fastest cars, ten fastest motorbikes and five fastest trucks will set off together.

Alexandre Kowalski, Yamalube Yamaha Rally Teams Director

“It was a tough day for riders and bikes as the mercury soared. In marathon configuration tonight, in Belén’s isolated bivouac, the riders will have to look after their bike and get some rest. What matters most for tomorrow, in the Fiambala’s dunes and with the heat, is that the riders stay cautious and preserve their machines. We know that everything can happened in the last days of the race and we want all the Yamaha riders to reach the finish line in Rosario on Sunday.”

José Leloir, Yamalube Yamaha Rally Teams Sport Manager

“The organisers announced a tough stage, and that’s what happened! I’m glad that our Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team and Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team riders did very well on this first half of the marathon stage. The four riders are in the top-12 of today’s stage and were some of the few ones who managed to complete the whole special. We prepared the WR450F Rally for today’s stage characteristics: we made technical adjustments to minimise the impact of the heat on the machines and to generate maximum power in the dunes. The bikes worked well and we made it with no major issues or problems. Hélder Rodrigues had a fall on the route but should be able to mend his bike and reset his WR450F Rally by himself tonight.”

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

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

Dakar Rally Provisional Classification of Stage 9

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 02:24:19
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 02:31:29, +00:07:10
3. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 02:34:52, +00:10:33
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 02:35:07, +00:10:48
5. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 02:35:22, +00:11:03
6. Antoine Méo (FRA), KTM, 02:36:12, +00:11:53
7. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 02:38:42, +00:14:23
8. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), KTM, 02:38:57, +00:14:38
9. Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 02:40:19, +00:16:00
10. Armand Monleon (ESP), KTM, 02:40:57, +00:16:38
11. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 02:44:12, +00:19:53
12. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 02:45:53, +00:21:34

13. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 02:48:31, +00:24:12
14. David Casteu (FRA), KTM, 02:50:28, +00:26:09
15. Olivier Pain (FRA), KTM, 02:53:17, +00:28:58
22. Frans Verhoeven (NLD), Yamaha, 03:02:02, +00:37:43
39. Mauricio Javier Gomez (ARG), Yamaha, 03:32:51, +01:08:32
71. Bruno Da Costa (FRA), Yamaha, 04:47:52, +02:23:33

Dakar Rally Provisional General Classification of Event after Leg 9

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 29:53:15
2. Stefan Skitvo (SVK), KTM, 30:18:02, + 00:24:47
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 30:25:29, +00:32:14
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 30:26:20, +00:33:05
5. Antoine Méo (FRA), KTM, 30:33:52, +00:40:37
6. Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 30:40:06, +00:46:51
7. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), KTM, 30:45:25, +00:52:10
8. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 30:55:57, +01:02:42
9. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 30:55:57, +01:02:42
10. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 31:10:32, +01:17:17
11. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), Sherco TVS, 31:18:07, +01:24:52
12.  Alain Duclos (FRA), Sherco TVS, 31:18:11, +01:24:56
13. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 31:23:33, +01:30:18
14. Armand Monleon (ESP), KTM, 31:32:52, +01:39:37
15. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 31:46:09, +01:52:54
22. Frans Verhoeven (NLD), Yamaha, 32:13:20, +02:20:05
45. Bruno Da Costa (FRA), Yamaha, 36:24:45, +06:31:30
55. Mauricio Javier Gomez (ARG), Yamaha, 38:00:11, 08:06:56