Battling for the podium until the very last stage of the 2018 Desafio Inca rally, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders Adrien Van Beveren and Franco Caimi wrapped up their three-day adventure in the incredible dunes of Peru with respective fifth and seventh place overall results. Successfully battling through sickness, Xavier de Soultrait crossed the finish line of the rally and like his Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team partners learned a lot during the weekend in Peru.
Featuring more than 850km of racing in the unique, sandy dunes outside Ica, the event was a valuable training experience ahead of the coming Dakar, which will also take place in Peru. Entering the main part of their preparation ahead of next January’s event, the trio of Van Beveren, Caimi and de Soultrait entered the Desafio Inca rally ready to fight for good overall results.
Spearheading the team’s efforts in Peru was Adrien Van Beveren. Kicking off the event with a strong runner-up result on stage one, the Frenchman suffered a small navigational mistake on the third and final stage that saw him settle for a solid fifth overall.
Not finishing outside the top-eight in any of the three stages, Franco Caimi earned seventh overall at the 2018 Desafio Inca. Opening the tracks for a large part of stage two, the rider from Argentina showed impressive speed and consistency throughout the weekend in Peru.
Suffering from sickness since the start of the event, Xavier de Soultrait had a mountain to climb at this year’s Desafio Inca. Unable to finish day one, the Frenchman came back stronger to claim ninth and 10th respectively on stages two and three.
The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team will return to action at the final round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the Morocco Rally on October 3/9. Joined by their Australian teammate Rodney Faggotter the four Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders will look to wrap up their current season on a high note before heading back to Peru for the 2019 Dakar Rally in January, 2019.
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
“There’s a lot of positives to take from this rally. The most important is that I am slowly getting back the feeling I had during the previous Dakar. Here in Peru I could push hard whenever I wanted to and my navigation was good as well. Day one was far from what we’re all used to. We caught up with the leading group of riders soon after the start and rode the rest of the stage together. I was happy to get second on day one. Day two was a fun day. I felt good from start to finish and tried my best to stay out of trouble. For the last stage I had a good starting position and was hoping I could battle for the overall win. I had a good day but a small navigational mistake right after the start forced me to lose some time. I had to come back so lost about five minutes and this made the difference in the final results. Overall, I was feeling better every day. There is still some work to be done but I am really happy we are making steps in the right direction. I now need to be patient and continue working hard for the coming Dakar.”
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“I felt really good throughout the race here in Peru. I am growing race-by-race and I am learning a lot and this is what keeps me happy and motivated. The Desafio Inca has been a tough event for all. Day one was quite difficult with demanding navigation. I had a good pace from the get go and was improving my speed as the race went on. Then on day two I was the second rider to take the start and 25km in I passed Toby [Price]. I opened the stage until kilometre 120 and that was a great experience. Overall, the final result could have been better but I showed I am able to battle for the podium. I am really looking forward to the Morocco Rally now where I hope that all this hard work will pay off.”
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
“I did my best this weekend and I feel I’ve learned a lot. Suffering from sickness since the beginning of this race, I had to dig deep to make it past the finish line. Day one was the hardest for me. Feeling nauseous it was impossible to remain focused on my navigation and I had to call it a day. On day two I took some special pills and felt a lot better and it was the same on day three. Overall, I’m happy with my navigation but my speed wasn’t as competitive as I would have expected due to my sickness. This rally has been a big learning experience as we got the chance to get some good racing time in conditions similar to what we’ll face during the coming Dakar. I’m happy I was here and now our eyes are set on the Morocco rally next month.”
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team director
“We’ve taken a big step towards the right direction here in Peru. With this event taking place in similar condition to those expected at the coming Dakar, it was mandatory for us to be here. We’ve collected a vast amount of information, tried some new solutions and we were also able to see where our riders are at compared to their competitors. Starting with Adrien, it’s been a great event for him. Despite spending the first half of 2018 recovering from his Dakar injuries, Adrien is back on the right track and he proved it this weekend here in Peru. He was consistent throughout the three days of racing and managed to get his confidence back. With a few months left for the coming Dakar, I personally believe Adrien is in a very good place right now. Franco was once again amongst the top competitors. He’s been working really hard during the last few months and he is constantly building on his speed. During this rally Franco tried some new solutions including a new navigation system and we were all happy to see that it worked quite well for him. Suffering from sickness since day one, Xavier was not able to show his true potential. With long stages in unique and challenging conditions, this was surely a tough event for all. Battling through the sickness, Xavier was able to finish the race while getting better and better every day. This event has been a good training for all ahead of the coming Dakar and we will keep on working hard to be 100% ready this coming January.”
2018 Desafio Inca Rally – Final Overall Classification [Provisional]
1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 10:08:13
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 10:11:04, +00:02:51
3. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 10:16:37, +00:08:24
4. Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 10:18:15, +00:10:02
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 10:19:09, +00:10:56
6. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 10:19:017, +00:11:04
7. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 10:21:33, +00:13:20
26. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 56:13:40, +46:05:27