The Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype was on the start line for the first time since the final stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally today with Yamaha Motor Europe President and CEO Eric de Seynes, and 2021 Dakar podium finisher Camelia Liparoti, putting the cutting-edge X-Raid Yamaha Rally Racing Supported machine through its paces during the Prologue stage of the Andalucía Rally in Villamartín, Spain.
Sporting the number #251, Eric de Seynes and co-driver Camelia Liparoti were put to the test during a short 8-kilometer prologue stage. The course was made up of a variety of terrain, with gravel, hardpack and sand, which made for a technically challenging yet enjoyable sprint to the finish. Eric de Seynes enjoyed taking the time to get used to driving the YXZ1000R prototype but admitted to preferring the long-distance stages and was thrilled to get to the finish mistake-free. At the same time, co-driver Camelia Liparoti – who is usually in the driver’s seat – used the time to adapt to her new responsibilities as navigator and is looking forward to the remainder of the rally.
Alongside the X-raid developed prototype, two regular YXZ1000R European Cup crews from Franco Sport were also in action, vying for both Andalucia Rally honours as well as a Wild Card entry into the prestigious YXZ SuperFinale. Franco Sport YXZ1000R driver Mario Franco and co-driver Nuno Guilherme put in a superb performance on the short, fast, opening prologue stage to top the open class standings. Teammates Manuel and Pedro Breyner crossed the finish line in a favourable 12th position.
Stage One of the Andalucia Rally will begin tomorrow, May 13th, where Eric de Seynes and Camelia Liparoti will start 58th in the FIA category. The stage will comprise a total of 293 kilometers, 257 of which will be the timed Special Stage.
Eric de Seynes
Driver: Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype #251
“The prologue was nice because there were three different phases with a gravel path and then a hard-pack track and then after that some sand. With so many different textures of track it would have been easy to make a big mistake. I find the prologue quite challenging because it is so short; if you are too slow, you are punished, and after, during the next four days you have to eat the sand of your predecessors. However, if you push too much you can destroy everything and then it’s over. Anyway, we did it and nobody appeared in our rear-view mirror, so at least we were running a good pace and the car is good. I enjoy more the longer special stages, which are different to the prologue. You have to get your rhythm to drive, to be clean, to be fast and to make no mistakes. The prologue is too short, so you have to push yourself to the limits knowing you can make a mistake and that is not so nice, but I am satisfied because we got through it and now it is done. It was pleasant to finish, and to finish with no damage on the car.”
Co-Driver: Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype #251
“It was very interesting. The first kilometers of the rally were my first as a co-driver and to have two GPS units, a tablet, and an electronic road book on the dash, whilst also having to monitor oil and water temperature, means I have to look at so many things. I still have the mindset of a driver, wanting to see the course, so I need to focus more on the road book rather than looking outside the car. Eric was good today, but he still needs to find his rhythm, while the car was perfect. We didn’t crash, we didn’t break anything and we are booth happy to get the real racing started with the first proper stage tomorrow.”