The X-raid Yamaha Supported Team crews overcame adversity during a challenging second stage at the Dakar Rally, with all six YXZ1000R Turbo Prototypes managing to complete the special despite each SSV suffering numerous punctures in the Saudi Arabia.
Stage 2 at the 45th edition of the Dakar proved to be one of the most demanding in recent memory, as overnight rain made the already tricky rocky trails even more treacherous by removing the sand and exposing dangerous, sharp stones. After leaving the Yanbu Sea Camp for the first time during the rally, a 159km liaison was followed by a 430km special stage that proved punishing to tyres and drivers alike before the crews finished at the bivouac in Alula.
It turned out to be a stage of attrition, with each of the crews suffering from multiple punctures and having to carry out running repairs to reach the finish line, with the focus shifting from racing to surviving and finishing the special without losing too much time.
Reigning T3 Women’s Trophy holders Annett Fischer (DEU) and Annie Seel (SWE) used the extra power of the new X-raid developed Yamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype to make up time after suffering two punctures to finish the stage in 26th place. The pairing, racing in their second consecutive Dakar together, completed the stage in seven hours, 38 minutes and 22 seconds, which saw them move up to 19th in the general classification, two hours, 42 minutes, and three seconds behind the leaders as the fastest all-female crew.
Dakar Legend Camelia Liparoti (ITA) and co-driver Xavier Blanco used all of their experience to finish just over four minutes behind their teammates, completing the stage in seven hours, 42 minutes, and 28 seconds to secure 27th on the special and moving to 23rd in the overall standings.
Following on from his superb drive to fifth during Stage 1, the Chilean duo of Ignacio Casales and Alvaro Leon were next in 29th position, reaching the finish line in seven hours, 50 minutes and 49 seconds, despite suffering from an incredible eight punctures during the day. They remain the leading YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype in 16th in the general classification, just two hours, 14 minutes and 53 seconds behind the overall leaders.
Competing in their first Dakar together, Ahmed Alkuwari Fahad (QAT) and Manuel Lucchese (ITA) brought their SSV home in 36th with a time of eight hours, 41 minutes, and 58 seconds to secure 26th in the general classification.
Dakar rookie João Ferreira (PRT) ad co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) returned to the bivouac in 41st place after nine hours, 51 minutes, and ten seconds to claim 33rd overall, while the pairing of Ricardo Porém (PRT) and Augusto Sanz (ARG) finished in 42nd with a time of nine hours, 54 minutes, and 47 seconds, which sees them complete the stage 30th in the general classification.
There is no let up for the X-raid Yamaha Supported Team crews, as Stage 3 promises to be just as hard. Kicking off with a 61km liaison, they then face a 447km special stage that features more rocks and soft sand before another liaison, this time 162km, to the bivouac in Ha’il.
Yamaha Motor Europe ROV Racing Coordinator
“I am proud of myself, my co-driver and all the crews, to be honest, because it was an incredibly tough stage. Not only did everyone stay focused, but they also showed superb determination and fortitude to all finish the stage. That has to be one of the toughest specials I have driven in the Dakar Rally, yet we all managed to finish. Today was one of those days where it would have been very easy to lose the race, but there was not much to gain, so it was about surviving, and we all made it back to the bivouac. The next few stages will not be any easier, but we feel ready for anything after today.”
Dakar Rally 2023
Stage 2 Results
26. A.Fischer & A.Seel 07:38:22 +02:03:57
27. C.Liparoti & X.Blanco 07:42:28 +02:03:57
29. I.Casale & A.Leon 07:50:49 +02:12:18
36. A.Alkuwari Fahad & M.Lucchese 08:41:58 +03:03:27
41. J.Ferreira & F.Palmeiro 09:51:10 +:04:12:39
42. R.Porém & A.Sanz 09:54:57 +04:16:16
16. I.Casale & A.Leon 11:52:29 +02:14:53
19. A.Fischer & A.Seel 12:19:39 +02:42:03
23. C.Liparoti & X.Blanco 12:44:33 +03:06:57
26. A.Alkuwari Fahad & M.Lucchese 13:02:21 +03:24:45
30. R.Porém & A.Sanz 14:12:40 +04:35:04
33. J.Ferreira & F.Palmeiro 14:14:33 +04:36:57