Successfully overcoming the challenges of a long and demanding stage three at this year’s Atacama Rally, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider Xavier de Soultrait is currently placed fourth in the rally’s provisional overall standings with two stages to go.
Reaching the end of a gruelling 350km-long special stage without any major issues, de Soultrait posted the sixth fastest time for the day. Continuing his strong run of form at the Atacama Rally 2017, the WR450F Rally mounted Frenchman is now a little more than two minutes behind a provisional top three result.
For Xavier’s Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team partner Franco Caimi, the Argentinean put in a solid ride to get a seventh place result for the day. Continuing to learn and improve in what is only his second international multi-stage rally aboard the WR450F Rally machine, Franco is currently seventh in the provisional overall standings.
Opting to race a steady stage Adrien Van Beveren earned eighth for the day and remains eighth in the provisional overall rankings. Taking his time to get back up to full speed following injury earlier in the year, the Frenchman will take advantage of the remaining two stages to continue building on his speed and further improve his navigational skills.
Taking place on Thursday the penultimate stage of the Atacama Rally is the longest of this year’s event and will see competitors head towards the city of Iquique. Featuring a total distance of 547km the highlight for tomorrow will be a 375km-long timed special.
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
6th Stage 3 / 4th Overall
“The special stage today was quite difficult with many fast parts. I started the day more on the cautious side and gradually increased my pace as the race went on. At the last part of the special stage I decided to push hard and had a small and harmless crash. The goal now is to keep my speed and momentum going into the last two stages. Tomorrow is going to be one more hard day and it will be crucial to try and avoid mistakes. There is a long way to go and I will keep doing my best to get as close as possible to the top three.”
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
7th Stage 3 / 7th Overall
“It was a fast stage today and there were some dangerous parts. I decided to take it easy and avoid taking any risks. Today I tried to do a smart race and avoid pushing over the limit. The goal from this event is to learn and improve in order to be perfectly ready for the Dakar in January. My bike is running great and I’m feeling ready for the coming two stages. I will do my best to remain fast and avoid mistakes tomorrow. It’s going to be a long stage so anything can happen in the overall classification.”
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
8rth Stage 3 / 8th Overall
“This rally has been perfect training for me so far. For one more stage we were faced with difficult navigation today. There were also some tricky parts that were not included in the road-book so we had to be extra careful. My plan for this event has always been to take one step at a time to slowly get back up to speed and this is exactly what I am doing. Results might not be exactly what I’d want, but we are making progress and this is what matters. I will keep working and pushing harder to wrap up this rally on a high note.”
Atacama Rally 2017 – Stage 3 – Provisional Classification
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 03:16:43
2. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 03:20:17, +03:34
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 03:20:20, +03:37
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 03:21:34, +04:51
5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 03:22:51, +06:08
6. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 03:24:48, +08:05
7. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 03:30:26, +13:53
8. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 03:37:43, +21:00
Atacama Rally 2017 – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 3]
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 07:20:23
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 07:25:21, +04:58
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 07:30:15, +09:52
4. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 07:32:22, +11:59
5. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 07:32:40, +12:17
6. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 07:38:07, +17:44
7. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 07:40:28, +20:05
8. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 07:54:50, +34:27
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