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Ferreira & Palmeiro Make History for Yamaha During Stage 4 at Dakar

Ferreira & Palmeiro Make History for Yamaha During Stage 4 at Dakar

X-raid Yamaha Supported Team’s João Ferreira and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro secured the first stage podium for the YXZ1000R Dakar project in the T3 class in Saudi Arabia on a day that saw all six crews finish inside the top 15.

Started in 2021, the YXZ1000R Dakar project achieved success in its inaugural year when Camelia Liparoti and co-driver Annett Fischer claimed second overall in the T3 Lightweight Prototype class before the Italian driver followed this up with sixth overall in the same category in 2022, this time partnered with Xavier Blanco.

This year, the project has grown with seven Yamaha X-raid Yamaha Supported Team crews starting the legendary rally before the withdrawal of Merce Marti (ESP) and Lisette Bakker (NLD) after a crash during Stage 1, plus the introduction of the new, more powerful, X-raid developed Yamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype.

Stage 4 was a loop stage starting and finishing at the bivouac in Ha’il, involving a 94km liaison to the start of the 425km special before another liaison of 58km. The torrential rain that cut short the third stage had made the route trickier than usual, but the sun returned on Wednesday, with temperatures reaching a chilly but dry 16 degrees Celsius.

After a technical issue saw Dakar Rookie Ferreira and his experienced co-driver Palmeiro fail to finish Stage 3 and receive a penalty of 26 hours and 34 minutes, the Portuguese duo attacked the day, which featured a mixture of rocky trails, soft sand and dunes, with nothing to lose.

Starting from 7th, they showed great pace to overtake several cars and finish with a time of five hours, seven minutes, and 44 seconds, just five minutes and 49 seconds behind the overall stage winners, in the process, writing their name in the record books.


On a day that saw the X-raid developed Yamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype come into its own, Ahmed Alkuwari Fahad (QAT) and Manuel Lucchese (ITA) pulled off their best stage finish in their first Dakar driving together to finish in tenth, moving up to 15th overall in the process. They were closely followed by Dakar Legend Liparoti and her co-driver again in 2023, Blanco, who completed the stage in 11th place. At the same time, the Italian’s former co-driver Fischer, alongside Annie Seel, fought back superbly after a tricky opening few days to finish in 13th.

The Chilean pairing of Ignacio Casale, three-time winner of the Quad category at Dakar, and Alvaro Leon were on course to finish the stage in fourth before experiencing some technical issues as they approached the finish line. Carrying out repairs, they managed to finish the stage in 14th and remain the leading Yamaha in the general classification in 11th.

Ricardo Porém (PRT) and Augusto Sanz (ARG) made sure that all six X-raid Yamaha Supported Team crews finished inside the top 15 on a day when the new YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype showed its true colours.

Next up is Stage 5, which once again is a loop stage as the rally stays in Ha’il for another day. Beginning with a 145km liaison, the crews will then take on a 374km special that consists almost entirely of soft sand and dunes before a 130km liaison back to the bivouac.

Camelia Liparoti

Yamaha Motor Europe ROV Racing Coordinator

“Today was when we found out just how good the new X-raid developed YXZ1000R Turbo prototype is. João and Filipe were superb and fully deserve their stage podium, plus it was great to see how the new machine took on the massive dunes like a gazelle and made it easy, plus for all six crews to finish inside the top 15 makes me very proud of the whole team and project. I have so much respect for all the drivers, as it was another stage over 400km, and the terrain was very demanding. Tomorrow is another tough day, with the entire special stage consisting of soft sand and dunes. It will prove a real test of not only the driver’s skill but also their navigation ability. It will be another big test for the YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype, but after today we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Dakar Rally 2023

Stage 4 Results

2. J.Ferreira & F.Palmeiro 5h 47m 44s +5m 49s
10. A.Alkuwari Fahad & M.Lucchese 6h 2m 47s +1h 00m 52s
11. C.Liparoti & X.Blanco 6h 2m 57s +1h 1m 2s
13. A.Fischer & A.Seel 6k 11m 7s +1hr 9m 12s
14. I.Casale & A.Leon 6h 15m 15s +1h 13m 20s
15. R.Porém & A.Sanz 6h 24m 58s +1h 23m 3s

General Classification

11. I.Casale & A.Leon 22h 29m 31s + 3h 29m 44s
15. A.Alkuwari Fahad & M.Lucchese 23h 48m 25s +4h 55m 10s
16. C.Liparoti & X.Blanco 23h 54m 57s +4h 55m 10s
20. R.Porém & A.Sanz 24h 54m 41s +5h 54m 54s
23. A.Fischer & A.Seel 25h 57m 15s +6h 57m 28s
34. J.Ferreira & F.Palmeiro 59h 13m 17s +40h 13m 30s