Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Gear Up For 2018 Atacama Rally

Looking forward to returning to competitive action, the trio of Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders Adrien Van Beveren, Xavier de Soultrait and Franco Caimi are all-set to contest the six-day-long Atacama Rally 2018 – round three of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, this coming week in Chile.

This 2018 edition of the Atacama Rally will offer the three Yamaha WR450F Rally powered racers the chance to challenge themselves in true rally conditions as they continue their preparation for the coming Dakar Rally in January, 2019.

Working hard to get back to full competitive fitness following his injury last January, Adrien Van Beveren is looking at gradually building on the impressive speed that saw him as one of the revelations of the 2018 Dakar Rally. Looking forward to some challenging racing miles aboard his WR450F Rally machine in Chile, the Frenchman wants to continue improving in all aspects of his riding and navigation ahead of the coming edition of the Dakar.

Feeling physically and mentally strong, Xavier de Soultrait will be a force to be reckoned with this coming week in the dunes of Chile. Undergoing surgery shortly after the 2018 Dakar, Xavier has been back training on his Yamaha since April. Taking his time to return to full fitness, Xavier is highly motivated to go after a good overall result at this coming edition of the Atacama Rally.

Following his highly positive fourth place result at the Merzouga Rally back in April, Franco Caimi will be looking to go even higher at the 2018 Atacama Rally. Working hard during the last few months to further improve his speed and navigation, the rider from Argentina will be a strong asset for the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team this coming week in Chile.

Featuring a total race distance of 1,200km over a mix a mountain, valley and coastal terrain within the Atacama Region of Chile, the 2018 Atacama Rally will be challenging for all competitors. The event will kick off with the Prologue on Monday, August 13, before racers set off for five tough stages around the city of Copiapó. The scheduled finish will again be in the city of Copiapó on August 18, 2018.

Adrien Van Beveren

Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider

“I am really looking forward to start racing again. After my latest collarbone surgery, I got back on the bike in the middle of July and since then I have been training and working hard. Even before that I had been cycling a lot so my physical conditioning was really good. Despite staying away from my bike for six months I immediately started feeling well and I have been getting stronger each day. I am strong technically and I am enjoying every day back on my Yamaha. Even though I was not obliged to race the Atacama Rally, we decided to give it a go. Without any pressure, the goal is to get a good feeling and see how we can improve from that. The major goal for me is the 2019 Dakar and this is where I am totally focused. We learned a lot last year and I truly believe that if it all goes well I can be out there battling for victory next January. For the Atacama Rally, I want to take things one step at a time. I’ve been training in Spain for the last couple weeks, but nothing compares to racing against the best riders in the world in proper rally conditions. Chile is an awesome place to race a motorcycle and I can’t wait for this rally to begin.”

Xavier de Soultrait

Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider

“I feel great on my bike at the moment and I can’t wait for the race to begin. Following my injury during the Dakar I had an operation and stayed away from training for 10 weeks. I got back on my bike in April and since then I feel stronger every day that goes by. The operation went quite well and I took my time to properly recover so there was no pain when I got back on the bike. Since then I’ve been training and testing with the team in Morocco, Chile, Spain and in France and I feel very strong at the moment. We’ve made some good improvements on the bike and I worked a lot also to improve my weaker points. The Atacama Rally will be my first race for this new season and I am really looking forward to it. Last year I was battling for the top three and ended up finishing fifth overall. We expect competition to be elevated again this year, so it will be a great chance to test ourselves in tough conditions. The Atacama Rally will be a good test in preparation for the upcoming Dakar. I really thing a podium result is within our goals in Chile.”

Franco Caimi

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider

“I’ve been working really hard during the last few months and I can’t wait for the Atacama Rally to begin. I made some changes in my training schedule recently and I feel stronger than ever both physically and mentally. I’ve also been putting some good miles on my WR450F Rally machine back home in Argentina and I’m really confident to push now. Back in April we came close to securing a podium result at the Merzouga Rally and this gave me some extra motivation to keep working harder than ever. My speed in Morocco was good and I worked hard to improve the minor details. It’s also great to have Adrien and Xavier back racing with us. The atmosphere in our team is great and it’s such a pleasure racing alongside them. For me, the more miles I put on my rally bike the more comfortable I feel. With all top riders taking part this year, the Atacama Rally will be a big challenge but I want to push for a good result. I feel great at the moment and I am really motivated to do well here in Chile.”

Alexandre Kowalski

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team director

“We’re more than ready to kick off this final part of our preparation ahead of the coming Dakar Rally. We’re really happy to have Adrien and Xavier back racing with us. Following their injuries at the previous Dakar, they will join Franco for this Atacama Rally. With the elite of international rally racers taking part at the event, the Atacama Rally will be a great opportunity to challenge ourselves and test new solutions. We want to allow our racers to get as much time as possible racing their WR450F Rally machines in really challenging conditions. At the 2018 Dakar we proved we have a really competitive motorcycle and now it’s time to make further steps forward with the evolution of our rally machine. Featuring demanding navigation in the Chilean dunes the Atacama Rally will be a big challenge for all, but we are really looking forward to it.”

Race Schedule – Atacama Rally 2018

Prologue | August 13 | Antay Copiapó
Stage 1 | August 14 | Copiapó – Copiapó
Stage 2 | August 15 | Copiapó – Vallenar – Copiapó
Stage 3 | August 16 | Copiapó – Inca de Oro – Copiapó
Stage 4 | August 17 | Copiapó – Chañaral – Copiapó
Stage 5 | August 18 | Copiapó – Copiapó

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