The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team put in another strong performance on Saturday during the third and penultimate stage of the 2017 Baja Inka Rally. Two of the team’s riders, Franco Caimi and Xavier de Soultrait, finished inside the top three taking second and third respectively. Adrien Van Beveren finished fifth, putting the team in a great position to take the overall win on the final day tomorrow.
Stage three, the second longest of the rally, again had competitors navigating their way around the dunes south of the Peruvian town of Paracas. Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren opened the stage and with times so close at the top of the standings there was everything to play for.
Claiming third on stage three, Xavier de Soultrait continued his impressive run of form. The Frenchman made the minimum of mistakes today despite the stage requiring a lot of navigation, especially on the first lap of the 322km special. De Soultrait goes into tomorrow’s final stage very close to the leader and plans to fight hard for the overall win.
Opening today’s stage, Adrien Van Beveren was always going to be at a disadvantage with no tracks ahead of him. Enjoying the experience of starting first, Van Beveren concentrated on his navigation and set a solid pace at the front. After being caught by de Soultrait and Benavides on the stage, Van Beveren kept the pressure on and ended up as the first rider home – he too has a strong chance to take the overall rally victory after the final stage.
Franco Caimi returned to the competition on stage three after a technical issue caused his retirement the previous day. Caimi rode an excellent stage finishing as runner-up. The Argentinian will start the final stage as the second rider away and will definitely be aiming to finish the Baja Inka rally with another strong performance.
Despite crashing and injuring his hand on stage two of the rally, Rodney Faggotter decided to take the start today. Battling through the pain, Faggotter put in a solid performance on his WR450F Rally machine. The Australian used the valuable time on the bike to further improve his navigation skills and rally experience.
The fourth and final stage of the Baja Inka rally will see all riders complete a total of 135km, 93km of which is timed special stage. The rally will finish close to the city of Paracas.
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
3rd Stage 3
“Everything has been going according to plan for me. Today’s timed special included two laps and navigation was key in the first of them. I quickly found myself racing alongside the top competitors and our speed was good. For the second consecutive stage, I had to rely on my navigation and I’m really happy everything worked out well. I didn’t make any mistakes and wrapped up the special stage with a good overall time. I’m now second in the overall and less than one minute behind the provisional leader. Tomorrow’s final stage is crucial and I think whoever wins it will take victory at the event. It’s good that I start tomorrow’s stage third and behind Franco. I think we will have a good fight for the overall win tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
5th Stage 3
“Opening the tracks for the first part of today’s stage was a great experience for me. I took my time trying not to make mistakes and it paid off. Xavier together with Kevin Benavides caught up with me and we raced together for some time. Then, as we were getting closer to the end of the special stage, Benavides tried to open up a small gap and I followed him. He made a small mistake so I found myself finishing the special first. I am very much looking forward to tomorrow’s last stage. I will be the fifth rider to take the start and this gives me a great chance to push for the victory. If all goes well I have a good chance for the overall victory here in Peru. I will certainly do my best tomorrow to get it. My bike is working perfectly at the moment so I can’t wait for tomorrow’s stage.”
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
2nd Stage 3
“I had a good day on my bike today. Yesterday was a long day for me and I really wanted to get a good result today. I was one of the last riders to start the special stage so I had to pass a lot of the other competitors. I put my head down and remained focused on my navigation. My feeling on the bike was great today and I’m happy with the runner-up spot for the day. Tomorrow is the last day of the race and my plan is to go after another strong stage finish. I can’t wait to wrap up this event with a positive result so I can then focus on my preparation for the Dakar Rally.”
Rodney Faggotter – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
11th Stage 3
“I made no mistakes today and rode a good stage. My speed in the first half of the special stage was not perfect but I improved my pace a lot in the second half. Following my crash yesterday my hand was still sore and I had to battle through pain today. I’m happy I remained mistake-free and was able to enjoy a good stage. I feel that every day on the bike is a good day. I keep learning new things and getting more and more familiar racing my big rally bike in the sand. I’m hoping the pain will go away and I’ll be able to enjoy a strong final stage tomorrow.”
Baja Inka 2017 – Stage 3 – Provisional Classification
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 03:48:57
2. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 03:50:46
3. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 03:51:48
4. Paulo Gonçalves (POR), Honda, 03:53:14
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 03:54:35
6. Jonathan Barragan (ESP), Gas Gas, 03:56:05
11. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 04:34:07
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