Yamaha In Contention For The Top Three After Stage One At Atacama Rally

2017-08-15 21:06
Finishing the first full day of competition at the Atacama Rally 2017 without any difficulties, all three Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders are well-placed and in contention for the top three in the event's provisional standings. Securing a fourth-place result today aboard the WR450F Rally, Xavier de Soultrait was Yamaha's best-performing rider.

Starting and finishing in the city of Copiapó, stage one was contested in sandy dunes and included sections with demanding navigation. Showing his speed by posting the second-best time in the short Prologue on Sunday, Xavier de Soultrait enjoyed a mistake-free stage. Getting a fourth-place result on stage one, the Frenchman is now three minutes and 18 seconds behind the overall provisional lead.

In what is just his second race aboard the WR450F Rally machine, team rookie Franco Caimi continued to show impressive speed and consistency. Posting the fifth best time in the day's timed special, the Argentinean remains in contention for a top three overall finish at the Atacama Rally 2017.

Opting to race a cautious stage one, Adrien Van Beveren finished with a seventh-place result on the day. Taking his time to get back up to full speed following injury, the Dakar Rally sensation knows he'll have many more chances to show what he's capable of during the next four stages of the Atacama Rally 2017.

Tuesday's stage two of the rally will see competitors head north and towards the city of Taltal. With a total distance of 379km the highlight of the day will be the 308km-long timed special in mixed sandy and hard-packed terrain.

Untitled Xavier de Soultrait - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
4th Stage 1

"I had a good feeling on my bike today. My plan was to get a steady pace right off the start and then start pushing as we were getting closer to the finish. The stage was contested in the deep sand and the dunes around Copiapó and there were lots of tricky parts in terms of navigation. It feels good to be back racing these long rally stages. The race has just started for me and it sure has a long way to go. I need to stay focused and the plan for tomorrow is to slowly start reducing my small gap to the riders at the top of the provisional overall standings."
Untitled Franco Caimi - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
5th Stage 1

"Everything went fine today. The stage wasn't too long but it did have some tricky parts. In some places it was very hard to find the correct way and also the pace set from the riders in front was quite fast. I did my best to remain focused but couldn't avoid a few small mistakes. Overall, I'm happy with my fifth place. Tomorrow will be another tough stage that will be more like a mix of fast and tricky parts. The first 50km will take place in the sand dunes and then we will enter some fast tracks. I feel good at the moment so I can't wait for tomorrow's stage."
Untitled Adrien Van Beveren - Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
7th Stage 1

"It wasn't a bad day for me. It feels good that I'm back racing my rally bike after more than six months. The feeling is good but I need to take one step at a time. Today I decided to keep it safe and avoided taking any risks. Navigation was quite challenging in some parts and I'm happy I did not make any mistakes. Tomorrow is going to be a different day. Starting with dunes again we will soon get into some faster bits and some hard-packed terrain. My bike is running great at the moment and we will keep making some minor suspension adjustments to get the best possible feeling."
Atacama Rally 2017 - Stage 1 - Provisional Classification
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 02:23:12
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 02:24:22, +01:10
3. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 02:24:47, +01:35
4. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 02:26:30, +03:18
5. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 02:29:49, +06:37
6. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 02:30:13, +07:01
7. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 02:33:22, +10:10

Race Schedule - Atacama Rally 2017
Prologue | Aug 13 | Copiapó | SS: 14.03km | Total: 60.32km
Stage 1 | Aug 14 | Copiapó to Copiapó | SS: 226.18km | Total: 272.47km
Stage 2 | Aug 15 | Copiapó to Tal Tal | SS: 308.0km | Total: 379.93km
Stage 3 | Aug 16 | Tal Tal to Mejillones | SS: 349.0km | Total: 487.27km
Stage 4 | Aug 17 | Mejillones to Iquique | SS: 375.0km | Total: 547.33km
Stage 5 | Aug 18 | Iquique to Iquique | SS: 158.27km | Total: 210.10km

You can follow the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's progress on the A

Source: Yamaha Motor Europe

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