Getting off to a highly positive start at the 2017 edition of the Atacama Rally in Chile, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team saw all three of their riders post times inside the top five in the event’s short Prologue. Due to navigational issues race organisers subsequently opted to cancel the Prologue using riders’ times to regulate starting position for stage one of the race.
Enjoying a great feeling aboard his WR450F Rally, Xavier de Soultrait posted the second best time in the Prologue. Selecting to start Monday morning’s stage one from 14th position, the Frenchman will be looking to keep his speed going into the event’s first big rally stage. Putting in the third and fifth fastest times in the Prologue, Franco Caimi and Adrien Van Beveren will start stage one from 13th and 11th places respectively.
The first long stage in this year’s Atacama Rally will see riders complete a circular route around Copiapó. With the total length of the stage being a little under 300km, the day’s timed special is 226km long and will be contested in the sand dunes of northern Chile.
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“Everything went well for me today. The Prologue was quite fast and there were a few tricky parts in terms of navigation. I tried to remain focused and it paid off. My speed in the dunes was good. Without making any big mistakes I just took my time to find a well-hidden waypoint. We’ve been working a lot with the team since we arrived in Chile and at the moment I’m feeling great on my bike. I’m really looking forward to stage one tomorrow.”
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“I am very happy with my result today. It was a tough stage and tricky to navigate, despite it being a short prologue. Third position is great considering the competition and the fact that it’s only my second race for the team. It’s really good for my motivation for the rest of the event. Tomorrow will be a difficult stage and it’s going to be a long week, but I am feeling confident of a good result.”
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
“I had a great feeling on my bike today. Despite a small issue on my navigation tower, I did my best not to make any mistakes. My pace was good and I went through all the waypoints reaching the finish line without any problem. Today we just got a very small taste of racing in the sandy dunes of Chile. The race has just started and there’s going to be plenty of chances to make up for the time lost during the next stages. It feels great to be back racing my rally bike and I can’t wait for the first full stage tomorrow.
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 Tal Tal | 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