Following their winning performance at the Merzouga Rally in Africa, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team are geared up for the Atacama Rally 2017 in Chile. Joining the team of Xavier de Soultrait and Franco Caimi will be Dakar Rally sensation Adrien Van Beveren, with the trio of Yamaha riders looking to secure yet more podium success in 2017.
Playing host to the third round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the Atacama Rally will see Adrien Van Beveren make his much-expected return to racing following his injury earlier this season. Working hard to return to full fitness, the Frenchman will take advantage of the six-day-long event in the dunes of Chile to better prepare for the upcoming Dakar Rally.
Claiming victory at the Merzouga Rally in May, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Xavier de Soultrait has his eyes set on continuing his strong run of form during the 2017 international rally racing season. Knowing that another strong finish is well within his reach, Xavier will also look to gain further ‘dune riding’ experience and off-track navigation.
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s line-up for the Atacama Rally 2017 is completed by rally rookie Franco Caimi. Taking the rally scene by surprise with his podium result at the Merzouga Rally, the young Argentinean is eager to continue his apprenticeship aboard the WR450F Rally machine at the week-long Atacama Rally.
Kicking off with a short 14km-long prologue on Sunday, August 13, the 2017 edition of the Atacama Rally will see competitors contest a total of five stages in the north of Chile.
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
“I’ve worked hard following my injury and I feel that I’m maybe even stronger than before. I’ve been doing lots of cycling so physically I’m in a very good place right now. The Atacama Rally will be my first major event after the Dakar so the plan is to take one step at a time. It’s also my first time racing in Chile so it’d be good to get a taste of the sandy terrain and the dunes. The main goal is to continue building on my speed and to further improve my navigational skills ahead of the upcoming Dakar in January. It’s also good that we’ll go head to head with the top rally riders in the world. My goal is to get more racing miles on my rally machine so I can’t wait for the race to start.”
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“It feels good to switch back to my rally machine after a few months of intense training on the enduro bike. The feeling on my WR450F Rally bike is great at the moment. After the Merzouga Rally I was really looking forward to this event. We’ve made a few basic changes to the bike but nothing major. We know navigation will be key here in Chile but we’re more than ready for it. I’m feeling great at the moment and I know what needs to be done to battle for stage victories. My main goal is to test a few things and improve, but if all goes well I know that a good overall result is well within my reach.”
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“I’m really happy to be back racing with my team. I’ve spent the last couple of months training hard back home in Argentina and now I’m physically and mentally ready for the challenge. I’m really motivated to do battle with the best rally riders in the world. The terrain in Chile is quite particular with lots of dunes and deep sand sections, so it will be a test for all of us. During the coming week we’ll also have the chance to test some new parts on our rally machines. I’m really looking forward to starting this event. My plan is to fight for a good overall result in Chile so that I can then take this momentum into my home rally the Ruta40 in Argentina at the end of this month.”
Jordi Arcarons – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team sport manager
“The Atacama Rally will be one more big test and we’re more than looking forward to it. The terrain is pretty similar to that found in the Dakar and it’s a good opportunity to continue the development of our bikes. The Atacama Rally is also part of the World Championship, so it’ll be good to test ourselves against the best teams and riders in the scene. With Adrien, our goal is to allow him to get as many racing miles under his belt as possible. Adrien has shown what he’s capable of and we want to give him time to get back into his top form. For Xavier, we know he’s fast in the desert. Xavier is also a great navigator and we have high expectations from him for the upcoming Dakar. As for Franco, he’s shown some very positive signs at the Merzouga Rally. We want to help him get more experience in rally racing so that he can be in a good place to battle with the top guys next January.”
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