Battling his way through an extremely technical and challenging stage 10 of this year’s Dakar Rally, Adrien Van Beveren currently finds himself fourth in the rally’s overall standings. With two stages left to be contested the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider is now three minutes behind a provisional top three overall result.
Promised by rally organisers to be the most technically demanding stage during the 2017 Dakar Rally, stage 10 from Chilecito to San Juan certainly lived up to everyone’s expectations. Entering today’s 450km-long timed special determined to retain or even improve on his third place overall result, Van Beveren frustratingly suffered one too many mistakes that saw the WR450F Rally mounted rider lose one spot in the provisional overall rankings. Determined to continue battling until the end, the Frenchman will give his best during tomorrow’s 288km-long timed special to regain his provisional position in the top three.
Following a cautious plan of attack while making good use of his experience, Adrien’s Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team partner Hélder Rodrigues enjoyed the most successful stage of his 2017 Dakar Rally campaign so far. Claiming a well-deserved fifth place result from today’s stage, the rider from Portugal climbed five positions in the provisional overall standings, where he’s currently placed 11th. With two stages to go and less than three minutes separating Hélder from the rider provisionally holding 10th overall, the possibility remains of all three Yamaha Racing riders finishing inside the Dakar Rally’s top 10.
Continuing to battle for the top, Xavier de Soultrait made a series of small navigational mistakes that forced the Yamaha France supported rider to settle for 22nd on today’s stage 10. Dropping to eighth in the provisional overall standings, Xavier is determined to push hard for the top six during the last two stages of the event.
Tomorrow’s penultimate racing day at the Dakar Rally features the last over-100km-long timed special of this year’s rally. Taking riders from San Juan to the last bivouac in Río Cuarto it includes a timed special of 288km in a mix of dunes and WRC-styled dirt roads.
Today I pushed really hard but things just didn’t happen like I hoped they would. It was a challenging stage with some trials styled sections and I’m happy we’ve reached its finish in one piece. My pace was good in the morning, but then I started making a few navigational mistakes here and there. Together with the time it takes to get back on the right track, the toughest part is that you lose your race pace. Following the mistakes in the morning I had a bad starting position in the second part of the special so took a lot of risks passing riders. It just wasn’t a good day but nothing is lost and nothing is gained. We still have tomorrow and then last day’s short stage. Our goal is the overall podium and we all know that anything could happen these next two days.
The stage today suit my style perfectly and I enjoyed it a lot. Despite being extremely warm out there, I managed to stay focused on my navigation so avoided any big mistakes. It was a stage for the more experienced guys I guess and you had to treat it with respect. You had to take your time to study the road book and make sure you always stayed in the right track. That’s exactly what I did today and it turned out that I got my best stage result of this rally. I wish we had more stages like that this year. In any case, I’m now really pretty close to the riders in front of me in the overall and I will give my best during the final two stages to put my Yamaha inside the top 10.
Today was like a game of tactics. You had to remain 100% focused on navigation but also take good care of your speed. If you just went flat out you were simply increasing the chances to get lost. I had a good pace in the beginning of the special, but got caught up with some other riders and we rode together for most of its first part. It was almost impossible for me to pass and unfortunately we were all kind of making the same mistakes. It might be hard for me now to get on the podium as I was hoping I could do, but we’re still inside the top 10. It’s been such a tough Dakar that a top 10 finish would be a big success for me. In saying that, there’s still two days to go and I want to do my best to get as higher as possible in the overall.
One thing we know about the Dakar is that it doesn’t end before you cross the finish line. Today we had a tough stage but all three of our riders are still in the game for the finish. During our debriefing this afternoon once again we highlighted the importance of navigation and the need to avoid mistakes. We are all highly motivated to continue our battle to bring Yamaha inside the final podium. We have a great spirit as a team and each one of us will continue giving their best until we reach Buenos Aires. Before the start of the rally a top five result might have been a success for us. But we showed we’re more than capable to do better. The final podium remains our main goal and that’s what we all have our eyes set on.
Dakar Rally 2017 – Stage 10 – Provisional Classification
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 05:49:45
2. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 05:50:09, +00:24
3. Franco Caimi (ARG), Honda, 05:53:33, +03:48
4. Pela Renet (FRA), Husqvarna, 05:54:06, +04:21
5. Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 05:55:31, +05:46
6. Ivan Cervantes (ESP), KTM, 05:57:00, +07:15
17. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 06:19:59, +30:14
22. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 06:47:36, +57:51
Dakar Rally 2017 – Overall Classification [After Stage 9 of 12]
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 28:07:59
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 28:38:00, +30:01
3. Gerard Farrés (ESP), KTM, 28:46:42, +38:43
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 28:49:56, +41:47
5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 29:01:46, +53:47
6. Pela Renet (FRA), Husqvarna, 29:03:23, +55:24
8. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 29:40:54, +01:32:55
11. Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 29:59:24, +01:51:25