Determined to give Yamaha a place on the final podium at the Dakar Rally 2017, Adrien Van Beveren put in a committed final stage performance today in Argentina to claim an impressive stage victory. Ensuring a very positive end to his two-week-long adventure in South America, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider wrapped up the event with an impressive fourth in the overall standings. With Adrien's teammate Hélder Rodrigues securing ninth overall, Yamaha's official team saw both its riders finish inside the top 10 of the 2017 Dakar Rally.
Entering the rally's last stage less than a minute behind the third placed rider, Van Beveren gave his best during today's 64-km-long timed special. Locked in a fierce battle for the final podium position with Spain's Gerard Farrés, Adrien pushed hard from start to finish but could not make up any time against his closest rival. Wrapping up the 9,000km adventure in fourth overall, and just 48 seconds behind third, the Frenchman demonstrated his huge potential in what was just the second Dakar Rally of his career.
With the 2017 Dakar Rally being one of the most demanding rally races to take place in South America, Adrien made a cautious start and kept building on his speed as the race went on. Holding on to third in the provisional overall standings for a full five stages he dropped to fourth following a tough stage ten. Temporarily regaining his spot inside the top three, he dropped back to fourth having been hit by a one-minute penalty.
Reaching the finish of today's short stage without any issues Adrien's teammate Hélder Rodrigues managed to add another top ten result to his illustrious Dakar Rally career. The 11th time the Portuguese rider has made it to the finish of the Dakar Rally, the 2017 event marked the 10th time he's also secured a spot inside the rally's top 10.
With Van Beveren battling for the top throughout the event and Rodrigues finishing the rally inside the top 10, the duo of Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team showed the huge potential of their new WR450F Rally machines.
Battling his way through a devastating stage 11, Yamaha France supported Xavier de Soultrait was back at the race today, successfully bringing his rally modified WR450F to the finish of the 2017 Dakar Rally. Suffering a mechanical issue during yesterday's stage the Frenchman arrived at the bivouac after 2:00am in the morning. With Yamaha Racing mechanics spending the rest of the night preparing his bike Xavier took the start of today's stage and brought his bike home in 14th position. Claiming two top three stage results and fighting for the top five in the overall standings during the majority of the event, Xavier showed he has what it takes to battle for the podium.
Claiming today's stage victory, Raptor 700R mounted Ignacio Casale secured an impressive runner-up spot in the Quad class' overall standings. The big winner of the Dakar Rally 2017 in the Quad class was Sergey Karyakin. Aboard his own Yamaha Raptor 700R the Russian dominated the field to top the standings with a staggering gap of one-hour and 14 minutes over the rest of the field. As the leading force in the category, Yamaha saw its riders occupy the first six spots in the final overall standings of the rally.
Adrien Van Beveren - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
1st Stage 12 / 4th Overall
"It was a very special Dakar and I'm happy I've reached the finish line. The emotions and satisfaction you get when you reach the end is beyond words. I gave my all today to reduce the gap to third but the special was too short to make any difference. Since the start of the event we showed we're capable to battle for the top and that's a big success for all the team. We proved we have a very competitive and ultra-reliable bike that is able to win stages. As for me, I can honestly say everything went according to plan. I did my own race, attacking when I wanted to and staying fast and consistent from start to end. This was just my second Dakar and I already feel I know so much more. My goal entering this race was to gain experience and I'm more than satisfied with the things I've learned. I won't lie saying that a podium wouldn't have felt better, but we take the positives out of this adventure and keep on working as hard as ever. We've taken huge step forward this year and we're looking forward to the future."
Hélder Rodrigues - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
16th Stage 12 / 9th Overall
"It was a tough Dakar and I'm happy I managed to finish inside the top ten. During these last two weeks we've all worked together as a team and the motivation to do well was really high. Adrien had a great race, battling for the podium from the start. Personally, I struggled to get a good race pace in the fast opening sections and that made it really hard for me to get back the time lost afterwards. When you start the specials from way back, you need to take lots of risks racing in the dust of other riders. But I'm happy I didn't make any navigational mistakes. I'm also happy with how our bikes performed throughout the event. Being part of this project since quite some time, it feels great to see the new WR450F Rally winning stages and battling for the top. I'd like to thank all my team for all their hard work during these last two weeks. The race was tough for them as well and we wouldn't have made it to the top 10 without them."
Xavier de Soultrait - Yamaha Viltaïs Experience Michelin FFM rider
14th Stage 12 / 87th Overall
"To finish this race is like giving a happy ending to a bitter story. Yesterday has been a really hard day for me. Following my mechanical I spent lots of hours trying to find a solution. I think I reached the bivouac around 2:30 in the morning. At that point I was pretty sure I was out of the race and didn't want to continue. But thanks to the support of all the team and the extremely hard work of my mechanics, we managed to have the bike ready for today's stage. During the last 24 hours I've been through a rollercoaster of emotions so to reach the finish feels amazing. Overall, I had a very good race. I was faster on day one, got second on day two and then third on day four. And all that on a pretty standard WR450F with some bigger tanks and a few basic modifications. I'm proud I finished this rally and I'm already looking forward to the next Dakar."
Alexandre Kowalski - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team director
"The most important thing that we take out of this Dakar is that we managed to improve a lot. We had a very competitive machine, a great team spirit and everything worked perfectly despite the harsh conditions. With Adrien fighting for the top three, Xavier being one of the fastest guys in every stage and Hélder making his race to the finish we showed we are a strong team and a strong candidate for top honours. We also showed that we now have a machine that's competitive, agile and reliable. This Dakar has been different to maybe any other event in South America. The major difference is the fact that it focused a lot on navigation. It did have some fast sections but this year any navigational mistake would cost twice the time it'd normally cost. It's been a big adventure for everybody and I'm personally happy I was part of it."
Dakar Rally 2017 - Stage 12 - Provisional Classification
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 00:30:29
2. Gerard Farrés (ESP), KTM, 00:30:29
3. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 00:30:47, +00:18
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 00:31:02, +00:33
5. Paulo Gonçalves (POR), Honda, 00:31:54, +01:25
6. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 00:32:11, +01:42
14. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 00:33:54, +03:25
16. Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 00:34:58, +04:02
Dakar Rally 2017 - Provisional Overall Classification
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 32:06:22
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 32:38:22, +32:00
3. Gerard Farrés (ESP), KTM, 32:42:02, +35:40
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 32:42:50, +36:28
5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 32:49:30, +43:08
6. Paulo Gonçalves (POR), Honda, 32:58:51, +52:29
9. Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 34:09:28, _02:03:06