Seven YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype Crews Ready to Compete in 2023 Dakar
Experienced competitor Camelia Liparoti and co-driver Xavier Blanco will lead the charge for Yamaha alongside six other crews at the 45th edition of the prestigious 2023 Dakar Rally that takes place between the 31st of December and the 15th of January in Saudi Arabia, competing in the X-raid developed Yamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype for the X-Raid Yamaha Supported Team.
The YXZ1000R Dakar project started in 2021, when German rally raid vehicle development and preparation specialists X-raid entered two prototypes, achieving a superb second-place finish in the T3.1 class and securing the Women’s Trophy with Liparoti behind the wheel alongside co-driver Annett Fischer.
After a year’s development, the team returned to the legendary rally in 2022 with three prototype YXZ1000Rs taking part. Liparoti once again showcased the potential of the SSV, finishing sixth overall in the T3 class with co-driver Xavier Blanco, while Fischer moved into the driver’s seat alongside Annie Seel to secure the Women’s Trophy in 15th.
The X-raid developed YXZ1000R Prototype side-by-side vehicle is based on the production Yamaha YXZ1000R, but with a wider chassis and a longer wheelbase. At the same time, the centre of gravity has been lowered to maximise grip and improve stability. A tubular chassis gives greater strength and is designed to meet FIA regulations while maintaining the instantly recognisable YXZ1000R body design, partly recreated from lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre. X-raid have extended and reinforced the front and rear suspension arms, allowing the shock absorbers to be moved outwards, creating more stability, plus an upgraded braking system.
Further increasing the YXZ1000R prototype’s performance for 2023, X-Raid has built on the success of previous versions by adding more useable power with a turbocharged 998cc DOHC inline three-cylinder engine that provides the perfect balance between motor and chassis performance.
This year’s Dakar sees the project expand again, as seven crews will compete in the X-raid developed Yamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype for the X-raid Yamaha Supported Team. 13-time Dakar finisher and six-time FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion in the Quad class, Liparoti is an integral part of the development team behind the latest version of the vehicle. After completing several successful tests throughout the year and winning the T4 category of the FIA Middle East Cup 2022, the Italian will be joined again by co-driver Xavier Blanco (Spain) to spearhead the Yamaha attack.
Looking to defend their Women’s Trophy, Fischer (Germany) and Seel (Sweden) will reunite to take on the epic race once more, while Ahmed Alkuwari Fahad (Qatar) will compete in his fourth Dakar as he partners with a three-time finisher in the bike class, Manuel Lucchese (Italy), for the first time. The winner of the Quad class at Dakar in 2014, 2018, and 2020, Ignacio Casale (Chile), will take on the rally in a lightweight prototype for the first time with co-driver Alvaro Lyon (Chile). They will be joined by a returning Marce Merti (Spain), who is partnered with debutante Lisette Bakker (Netherlands).
Ricardo Porém (Portugal) will make his fourth appearance in the rally as he returns to the T3 class with rookie co-driver Augusto Sanz (Argentina), while João Ferreira (Portugal) will make his Dakar debut alongside experienced co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (Portugal).
Founded in 2002, X-raid, the German rally raid vehicle development and preparation specialists, have an impressive list of international motorsport success, with six Dakar victories to their name and numerous FIA World Cup for Cross Country rallies titles.
In recent years, under the direct guidance of company founder Sven Quandt, X-raid has developed the Yamaha YXZ1000R Prototype together with Yamaha Motor Europe, highlighting the capabilities and performance of side-by-side vehicles and providing a platform for fresh talent to showcase their skills.
The 2022 Dakar Rally kicks off with a short 11km Prologue on the 31st of December that begins and ends at the Yanbu Sea Camp to decide the starting order for Stage 1 on the 1st of January. It then makes its way from the east coast of Saudi Arabia, traversing through the country across some of the most extreme terrain on the planet before ending on the west coast in Damman on the 15th, with the official rest day for competitors on the 9th.
Yamaha Motor Europe ROV Racing Coordinator
“I am thrilled to be once again taking part in the Dakar rally this year. It is always a special occasion and challenge, but it feels even more exciting this year, especially now that we have the YXZ1000R Prototype with the turbocharged engine. After the last two Dakar rallies, plus several tests, it is great to take this next step forward with the engine, as we already know what the chassis is capable of. I am very proud of this project, which I have been involved with from the start, not only as a driver, but with all the development we have done with X-raid and Yamaha Motor Europe on the prototype. I am excited to see how it will perform during what looks like a very challenging Dakar. I am also thrilled that we have seven YXZ1000R Turbo Prototypes taking part in the rally, including an all-female team and crews from around the world. Thanks to Yamaha Motor Europe and X-raid, who have worked so hard to make this project come to fruition, and I cannot wait to start.”