|Stage three of the AER was another demanding test for all competitors and their machinery. Following a short, 5km liaison, the 463km timed special began with rolling sand dunes, before taking riders onto hardpack desert tracks for the majority of the stage. A technical rocky section before the finish line ensured the field remained focused, with both Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team riders clearly enjoying the mixed terrain stage to deliver a fantastic 1-2 result.
Maintaining his strong start at the AER, Botturi topped the timesheets on stage three following a solid ride through the challenging special. The Italian delivered an inspiring performance to take the stage three win, with his impressive result moving him up to second in the provisional classification. Botturi would also claw back over three minutes on the early leader on what was an exceptional day for the experienced racer.
Despite hurting his foot on stage two, Pol Tarrés showed impressive speed on stage three to finish as runner-up. As the second rider to enter the special, the Andorran was faced with the challenge of opening the stage. But with full confidence in his navigating skills, Tarrés maintained his strong pace to complete the special just under one minute and 29 seconds behind his teammate after over five and a half hours of racing.
Riders will face the longest special of the Africa Eco Race on stage four. Covering just over 463km, the special will take place on both gravel and desert tracks, which will require all competitors to focus on their navigation. Once the stage is complete, riders will arrive in Fort Chacal on the outskirts of Laayoune, with two more days of racing before the event’s rest day on Sunday, January 7.
Alessandro Botturi – P1 (5h37m23s) – P3 (4h20m20s)
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“A good day for me and it was great to get this stage win. I think me and Pol did a good job and we were rewarded for our efforts. He opened the way for me during the last kilometres and we pushed on to the end. Obviously, this is a long race and it’s important to stay with the leading group and continue to take things day by day.”
Pol Tarrés – P2 (5h38m52s) – P2 (4h19m13s)
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“Today we did it, a 1-2 finish with Alessandro winning and me in second! It’s been an amazing day and I feel like a winner, too. I rode well today, and I pushed hard with Alessandro following me on the stage. I was surprised by my pace, but it shows that I have the speed and that the Ténéré bike is clearly capable. I’m really happy for myself, Alessandro, and the whole team. I’m third overall now but I’m much closer to the leader, which is great, and despite my foot being sore from crashing yesterday, I’m feeling really good.”
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team – Team Manager
“The whole team is very happy today with the 1-2 result. It was a very long stage again with a lot of different terrain – sand, stony sections, and it was really technical. Alessandro used his experience today and together with Pol, they managed their days very well with no mistakes. I’m really pleased for both of them. We have two more stages before the rest day so we will keep pushing before enjoying a break in the racing.”