Dakar 2016 Arrives in Bolivia; Rodrigues Breaches Into the Top 7 at Marathon Stage Day Two

2016-01-07 20:22
The second part of the marathon stage led the competitors from Jujuy to Uyuni, through the beautiful landscapes of Bolivia. Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Hélder Rodrigues returned to the top group on the leader board and brought his WR450F Rally to the bivouac in seventh position, whilst his teammate, Alessandro Botturi, finished in 20th position. Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team's Xavier De Soultrait was also glad to be featured amongst the first nineteen riders again. Fellow junior-rider, Adrien Van Beveren, classified 27th for his first marathon stage ever.

For the Dakar Rally's fifth stage, the Yamaha riders crossed the border from Argentina going into Bolivia to meet up with their assisting crew again in Uyuni's bivouac. They were welcomed to Bolivia by the very enthusiastic local population with a big crowd applauding the competitors along the side of the route all the way until the finish line. The second half of the marathon stage promised to be even more challenging, marked by an abrupt increase in altitude, as the riders climbed up to 4600m, the highest point in this year's Dakar Rally. The riders as well as the bikes were severely tested during the 642-kilometres of today's fifth stage. This special was also the first one based on navigation, adding extra difficulty.

The instructions given to the four riders were to preserve the WR450F Rally units during the two marathon days, which are very demanding for the engines. The riders were asked to take special care with the tyres, as they were not able to change them from one day to another, due to the marathon format.

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider Rodrigues staged his comeback on today's stage and entered the Dakar Rally's top seven. It seems that the receding flu allowed him to score a better chrono as he chased the best overall riders.

Alessandro Botturi handled the race well by slowing the pace and classifying in 20th place. Dakar rookie, Adrien Van Beveren, did the same and rode his WR450F Rally machine across the finish line in 27th position.

Xavier De Soultrait fought his way back to the front group during the two marathon days. There was a smile on his face as he continued to climb up the Dakar overall rankings to finish in 19th position. The French rider has days full of hard work behind him and is growing in confidence.

The marathon days saw a few retirements in the ATV category, but the two Argentinian riders, Alejandro and Marcos Patronelli kept their pace up aboard their Yamaha Raptor 700 and rode a good race as they spurted to the finish line in Bolivia. Alejandro Patronelli secured the third position whilst his brother Marcos took eighth place at today's fifth stage. They are now positioned second and fourth, respectively, in the overall classification.

Tomorrow's stage consists of a loop, starting and ending in Uyuni. It will be a challenge for the Yamaha's riders, as it is the longest stage of 2016 Dakar. The riders will have to travel 723-kilometres whilst climbing in altitude from a starting point of 3500m to 4200m.

Hélder Rodrigues Hélder Rodrigues, Yamaha Yamalube Official Rally Team
7th / +00:07:20, 13th / +00:16:20
"It was a good day for me today, I feel a little bit better and finished in the top seven. We have to reset the bikes tonight after the tough conditions of the two marathon days. We have two more important stages before the rest day in Salta followed by the decisive second week, about which I feel confident."

Alessandro Botturi Alessandro Botturi, Yamaha Yamalube Official Rally Team
20th / +00:13:30, 17th / +00:25:37
"My wrist is still painful but I need to get used to it! I moderated my ride in order to reach the finish line. I did not push much but I am still in a good position in the overall classification. I'm expecting two more tough stages before the rest day, especially because of my injury, but I am fully committed to making the best of it."

Adrien Van Beveren Adrien Van Beveren, Yamaha Yamalube Junior Rally Team
27th / +00:15:07, 20th / +00:29:39
"It was my first marathon day ever! I felt a little bit of pressure and didn't sleep well, that's why I asked for oxygen this morning before the start, otherwise I'm in good shape. I have completed the second half of the marathon stages, I rode with at slower pace today, as I needed to preserve the tyres. We crossed beautiful landscapes and I enjoyed the animated arrival in Bolivia."

Xavier De Soultrait Xavier De Soultrait, Yamaha Yamalube Junior Rally Team
19th / +00:12:35, 36th / +00:53:50
"Stage after stage, I'm slowly bringing my WR450F Rally back to the first group. I'm happy to have classified amongst the first 20 riders today. I felt fine during these two marathon stages; thanks to the experience I gained from my last participation, I tended to my bike's mechanics by myself without any problems. I need to keep this pace up and continue climbing in the classification until the rest day in Salta."

Alexandre Kowalski, Yamaha Yamalube Rally Teams Director
"During the last two difficult stages, from Jujuy to Uyuni, we wanted the riders to push during the race with care, whilst preserving their WR450F Rally units from the tough conditions of the marathon stages. It was important to limit the time gaps, to conserve the bikes and also to keep the riders' physical state into consideration. We have two more difficult stages to come before the rest day in Salta. The road to the Dakar finish is still long and we are glad that the riders managed to maintain good stage times, not so far from the front runners."

Source: Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.

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