After six days of racing across the northern part of Chile, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team saw all three of their riders reach the finish line of the Atacama Rally without any problems. Wrapping up the week-long event on a positive note, team rider Xavier de Soultrait earned a top five result in the event’s final overall standings.
Showing good speed in the dunes around Iquique, de Soultrait posted the fifth best time on the fifth and final stage of the rally. Moving up one spot in the event’s overall rankings, the WR450F Rally powered rider rounded out the Atacama Rally by claiming fifth in the overall standings.
For Adrien Van Beveren the final stage of the rally was a perfect opportunity for the Frenchman to show more of what he is capable of. Getting off to a very strong start Adrien was racing at a very competitive speed but suffered a small mistake and lost some precious time. Earning sixth on stage five to wrap up the event eighth overall, Adrien is eager to keep improving during the next big event for the team, the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina.
Securing a seventh-place result on the final stage, Franco Caimi was happy to reach the finish line of the Atacama Rally 2017. Battling through a mechanical issue on the penultimate stage of the rally, the young Argentinean had to dig deep to bring his WR450F Rally home ninth in the overall standings.
The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team will return to racing action at the Desafio Ruta 40, round four of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, on August 25 to September 1.
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
5th Stage 5 / 5th Overall
“Today we raced a small stage that was a lot closer to what you’d normally find at the Dakar. I had a good feeling on my bike and really enjoyed the day. I even managed to attack the second part of the stage to gain back some of the time lost during the last few days. We end this event with a positive feeling and this is very important for the rest of the season. I’ve spent a big part of the rally battling for the top three and overall I’m happy with our progress during this week. I managed to stay away from any big mistakes and improved my navigation. The race here in Chile has been a much different challenge than the Merzouga Rally so I’m glad we managed to experience it. We also tested a few new parts and some different settings on the bike, which will be of great help for the coming races.”
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
6th Stage 5 / 8th Overall
“Today I’m really happy. I managed to get a pretty good race pace right from the start of the special stage and was closely following some of the top competitors for a while. Unfortunately, I got lost halfway through the stage and lost about three minutes there. Nevertheless, the speed is back and most importantly I am now confident again to push hard. Our goal here in Chile has been to improve on navigation and get back up to speed and I’m happy to say we’ve achieved both. The feeling is good at the moment. We wrap up this event on a high and we are heading towards the Ruta 40 in Argentina in a week’s time. It’s also good to be racing against the best rally riders in the world, as this helps see how we can further improve to be highly competitive. The Atacama Rally has been a tough challenge and I’m glad I experienced it.”
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
7th Stage 5 / 9th Overall
“I’m happy I reached the finish after the problems I had on stage four. This event has been a huge learning experience for me and good training for the rest of the season, and the coming Dakar. I learned what parts of my riding I need to improve and I also got many more racing hours aboard the latest version of the WR450F Rally machine. Overall, I’m really satisfied with my performance. The results could have been better for sure, but I’m happy we battled through everything that was thrown at us to reach the finish line. Next week we’re racing on my home soil in Argentina and I’m really looking forward to it. I know the Ruta 40 will be another big challenge but I’m more than ready for it.”
Atacama Rally 2017 – Stage 5 – Provisional Classification
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 01:35:42
2. Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), KTM, 01:35:54, +00:12
3. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 01:36:01, +00:19
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 01:38:07, +02:25
5. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 01:41:29, +05:47
6. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 01:42:45, +07:03
7. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 01:44:02, +08:20
Atacama Rally 2017 – Final Overall Classification
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 12:53:49
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 12:56.12, +02:23
3. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 13:05:40, +11:51
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 13:17:04, +23:15
5. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 13:27:35, +33:46
6. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 13:27:54, +34:05
8. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 13:43:30, +49:41
9. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 14:17:20, +01:23:31
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 Taltal | 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