Dakar 2016; Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Riders Confirm Their Ambitions on Stage 6

2016-01-10 18:38
Today's sixth stage was the longest special section of the Dakar Rally, with a 542-kilometres race, during which Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Hélder Rodrigues and Alessandro Botturi made their intentions known. Riding head to head, the official riders secured 5th and 10th place in the stage rankings. Closely following in their tracks, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team's Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier De Soultrait kept up the pace and traced their senior colleagues to finish in 9th and 18th place respectively.

A tension-filled battle was announced for today. After yesterday's tough marathon stage came the longest special section of this 2016 Dakar Rally. The challenging fifth special took place between 3500 and 4200m altitude, looping back to Uyuni's bivouac on a changing route surface of sand and rocks, with fantastic views. The trail took the riders past Uyuni's Salar, one of the most spectacular sights on this year's Dakar agenda.

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Rodrigues has been discrete with his energy since the Dakar Rally's start, notably because he is suffering from flu. Today, however, he showed another side as he's regaining his strength. On this sixth stage his experience shone through as he took to the front and gained time on the ascending part of the race. He positioned himself as a serious contender, someone to keep an eye on for the upcoming and last stage before the rest day. Rodrigues clocked in with the fifth time of the day, moving him up from 13th place to 6th in the overall standings.

Partnering with Rodrigues, Botturi also worked his way up the leader board and made Yamaha's colours shine on today's stage. The second official rider was boosted by his teammate's energy and stayed on Rodrigues' tail for most of the route. Still having a hard time with his wrist injury, the Italian kept up a fast pace and closed the gap with the front-runners. He classified in 10th position.

On the Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team's side, Van Beveren surprised even the most experienced competitors again and finished in a solid 9th position. The Dakar-rookie is learning from one stage to the next, with different routes and new challenges every day. Today he maintained a good speed in a close race where the top group stuck together, separated by a few seconds from the rest of the field.

Teammate Xavier De Soultrait is still going strong as well and is determined to make his way to the front before the rest day in Salta on Sunday. Confident in his abilities to make it happen, he finished in the top 18th of today's stage and went up in the overall standings to 29th place.

In the ATV category, Yamaha was delighted to have Marcos and Alejandro Patronelli clinching a double podium aboard their Yamaha Raptor 700s when they secured 1st and 2nd place respectively. Marcos brought home today's stage win with a lead of almost 6 minutes. Alejandro followed his brother on the fast track to the podium of today's special; he finished in a convincing 2nd position. Thanks to today's successes, the Patronelli duo are also positioned 1st (Alejandro) and 2nd (Marcos) in the overall classification.

Tomorrow's stage will mark the end of the first week of racing, an important landmark for the Yamaha riders, but first they have another challenging, 817-kilometres stage to complete. The competitors will bring their bikes from Bolivia back to Argentina, in Salta, where they will enjoy a full day's rest on Sunday.

Hélder Rodrigues Hélder Rodrigues, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
5th / +00:05:23, overall 6th / 00:20:12
"I pushed a little bit more today: it is my goal to stay with the leaders before the second part of the rally next week, which will be difficult and decisive. The result is good but I feel that I can do even better and I will try to do so tomorrow. I am very happy with the new WR450F Rally, as I arrived to the finish line everyday with no problems. The whole Yamaha crew works a lot to help me perform in the best conditions, the mechanics work hard and I get a lot of support. It is really pleasant to be back on the Dakar Rally with a team such as Yamaha."

Alessandro Botturi Alessandro Botturi, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team
10th / +00:09:19, overall 13th / +00:33:44
"Today's special was hard and very long! I still feel pain on my right wrist, and that makes the race even more difficult every day. We made some small modifications to the bike yesterday and I had a better feeling today, despite my injury. My WR450F Rally is going very well. I will do my best to keep a good chrono before the rest day in Salta in two days."

Adrien Van Beveren Adrien Van Beveren, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team
9th / +00:08:47, overall 15th / +00:37:14
"The pace set by the front-runners was very fast but I was determined to ride my own race, so I kept my tempo and was focused on not making mistakes, as today's stage included tricky navigation. I'm glad I completed this special without major difficulties and without taking any risks. I achieved my goal, which is to learn from one day to another and I am really enjoying my journey on this first Dakar."

Xavier De Soultrait Xavier De Soultrait, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team
18th / +00: 17:05, overall 29th / +01:09:43
"I'm climbing up in the rankings every day, slowly but surely. I finished today's stage within the group of the first 20 riders and I will do my best to classify in an even better position tomorrow before the rest day. I enjoyed the ride today, Bolivia's landscapes are really beautiful and the route was great. My WR450F Rally works very well and that is the most important thing."

Alexandre Kowalski, Yamalube Yamaha Rally Teams Director
"Today's stage was long and difficult and our riders rode a solid race. Hélder strengthened his effort, as the flu is receding. Alessandro was happy with the technical adjustments made by the team on his bike yesterday, which allowed him to fully express his abilities and be faster despite his injury. Adrien and Xavier, our juniors, are keeping their pace up and stay consistent in their performances from one day to another. Tomorrow the riders will face another tough special and we want them to keep pushing while preserving their bodies and bikes for next week, which will be hard and crucial, after the rest day in Salta."

Source: Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story

Headlines