Enjoying the best possible start to the 2017 Baja Inka rally, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider Franco Caimi secured an impressive opening stage victory. With Franco’s team partners Xavier de Soultrait and Adrien Van Beveren claiming third and fifth respectively, it’s been a highly positive day of racing for Yamaha’s official team in the Peruvian dunes.
Including a 55km special stage in the massive sandy dunes south of Paracas, the first special stage at this year’s Baja Inka rally offered competitors a first taste of what’s to follow.
Back to full competitive fitness after his recent crash at the Desafio Ruta 40, Caimi was the rider to beat in this first day of racing in Peru. The only rider to complete the day’s special stage in less than 40 minutes, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rookie secured his first individual stage victory aboard the WR450F Rally machine.
Continuing his strong run of form, Xavier de Soultrait claimed third despite suffering a small navigational mistake 20km into the stage. Already a race winner this season, the Frenchman has his eyes set on wrapping up his international rally racing season with victory in Peru.
Taking his time to get familiar with the Peruvian terrain, Adrien Van Beveren enjoyed a solid start to the Baja Inka that saw the Frenchman secure a fifth place result for the day. Adrien will look to make the best out of his familiarity with sand racing in the remaining three long stages of the event.
Back on the WR450F Rally machine for the first time since the last Dakar Rally, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Rodney Faggotter raced a cautious stage one reaching the finish line without any problem. Securing a 10th place result for the day, the experienced Aussie racer will look to improve his overall position in the following three stages of the event.
Featuring the longest special stage of this year’s Baja Inka rally, tomorrow’s stage two will see competitors complete a total of 389km in the dunes around the city of Paracas.
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
1st Stage 1
“I’m really happy with my performance today. My bike is running great and I am very comfortable to ride it in my own pace. The terrain is tricky here and navigation is demanding. Overall, my pace was very good today and I managed to remain fast from start to finish. Tomorrow we have a very long stage and it’s important not to make any mistakes. I need to take care of myself and my bike to make sure I reach the finish of the rally. The way I see it, the rider who commits less mistakes will be the one to get on the top step of the podium.”
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
3rd Stage 1
“I started the day very well and my goal was to win the stage. Almost halfway through the special stage I made a small navigational mistake and that cost me a lot of time. Trying to find the right tracks I must have ridden and extra two kilometres. Overall, my pace was good today. The bike is running great and I could do my own race. I’m happy that my speed is good in that kind of terrain and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s stage.”
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
5th Stage 1
“I had an OK day on the bike. It took some time before I got familiar with the road-book. It wasn’t easy but once it happened I could start pushing harder. I struggled a bit with the dust coming from the leading riders so decided to ride cautiously. Tomorrow is a crucial day for this rally. It’s our first long stage in the dunes and it’s important to get a good result. I have a very good starting position and I think that’ll be an advantage. The terrain and the dunes here in Peru are different to what I’m used to and I feel that I’m learning a lot.”
Rodney Faggotter – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
10th Stage 1
“It was a good first stage for me. I’m slowly getting used to racing the rally machine again and it feels great. Today I had to take my time to get up to competitive speed. The last time I raced a big rally bike in big dunes was last year at the Merzouga Rally, so it’s been almost twelve months. To be honest I was a bit nervous going into today’s stage but at the end everything went well. I’m getting back into the swing of things and I can’t wait for the long stages to come.”
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team director
“Everything went well today and all four of our riders finished the opening stage without any issue. For most of them this is their first time racing in Peru. Our goal is to let them gain more experience and get familiar with the terrain. Consistency will be crucial the next couple of days but overall we are more than happy to see there’s a great team spirit. We had a rather short special stage today, which was the perfect opportunity to prepare our rider for what lies ahead. It’s important that they avoid mistakes and remain fast. The terrain here in Peru is a new experience for all of us and we are looking forward for the first full rally stage tomorrow.”
Baja Inka 2017 – Stage 1 – Provisional Classification
1. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 00:39:53
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 00:40:15
3. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 00:40:19
4. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 00:41:08
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 00:42:20
6. Michael Metge (FRA), Honda, 00:42:46
10. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 0045:33
Race Schedule – Baja Inka Rally 2017
Stage 1 | Sept 14 | Paracas | SS: 55km | Total: 119km
Stage 2 | Sept 15 | Paracas | SS: 325km | Total: 389km
Stage 3 | Sept 16 | Paracas | SS: 322km | Total: 386km
Stage 4 | Sept 17 | Paracas | SS: 93km | Total: 135km