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X-raid Yamaha Supported Team Secure Sensational Stage 11 Podium Lockout at Dakar

X-Raid Yamaha Supported Team Secure Sensational Stage 11 Podium Lockout at Dakar

The X-raid developed Yamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype conquered the Empty Quarter dunes as Ricardo Porém and co-driver Augusto Sanz won their first Dakar Rally stage, with João Ferreira and Filipe Palmeiro, plus Ignacio Casale and Alvaro Leon making it a historic first 1-2-3 for the team and manufacturer in the T3 class.

Stage 11 saw the rally tick over the 4,000km mark of timed segments and was the beginning of the Empty Quarter marathon. This means the crews are not allowed to receive any assistance from their teams at the end of the special and must camp in a separate bivouac before taking on the 12th stage. The South-east region of Saudi Arabia earned its name for a reason, with the barren landscape and infamous dunes, along with baking desert sun, proving the toughest part of the 45th edition of the Dakar Rally so far.

Thursday started with a 151km liaison to the start of the 275km special stage, which consisted of a mixture of challenging level-3 dunes, riverbeds and soft sand, before ending at the marathon bivouac. Despite the demanding nature of the route, right from the start it was a stage dominated by the new YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype, with the leading three crews battling for the stage victory between them throughout.

After securing back-to-back fourth place finishes on the last two days, Porém and Sanz managed to claim their first Dakar stage victory ahead of their X-raid teammates, with incredibly just 22 seconds separating the podium trio. Portuguese driver Porém is contesting his fourth Dakar alongside rookie Argentinean co-driver Sanz, and the duo took their first T3 Lightweight Prototype stage victory in a time of three hours, 19 minutes and 11 seconds.

Just twenty seconds behind them were the history-making Stage 8 winners, Dakar Rookie Ferreira & his experienced co-driver Palmeiro, who gave Yamaha their first taste of victory in the Car category on Sunday. Incredibly, despite it being Ferreira’s first Dakar, he now has three podiums and one stage win to his name, and while they will not be classified as official finishers due to not completing Stage 3. Despite this, with the Dakar counting as the first round of the 2023 World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC), their podium means they have collected more vital points do add to their tally, 

The Chilean crew of Casale & Leon have been leading the Yamaha charge in the general classification from the start. After recording their first podium of the rally on the previous day in second, three-time winner of the Quad category at the rally, Dakar Legend Casale, and his co-driver Leon made sure it would be a day to remember for Yamaha as they made it a 1-2-3. They ended the stage just two seconds behind Ferreira and Palmeiro, and almost six minutes ahead of their closest rival.

While the leading three crews were battling at the front, the Empty Quarter took its toll on their teammates. Ahmed Alkuwari Fahad (QAT) and Manuel Lucchese (ITA) struggled with an overheating issue in the extreme conditions and were forced to stop, before being able to continue and finish the stage in 32nd. 

Dakar Legend Camelia Liparoti (ITA), competing in her 14th consecutive Dakar, and co-driver Xavier Blanco (ESP) experienced a technical issue that saw them lose time as they could not push as hard as they would like, but still brought their SSV home in 33rd.

It was a tough day for defending Women’s Trophy duo Annett Fischer (DEU) and Annie Seel (SWE), who are also competing in the W2RC, as a crash that saw them roll their YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype meant they had to wait for help from one of the T5 Trucks. Fortunately, both were unhurt and after repairing their vehicle they finished the stage in 38th.

Stage 12 is the second part of the Empty Quarter marathon. Having spent the night away from their team and having to service their cars and fix any issues themselves, the crews will head out from the bivouac for a 21km liaison to the start of the special stage. They will then take on a 185km timed section, with more extreme dunes and soft sand on the agenda, before a 167km liaison back to the bivouac in Shaybah where they will be reunited with the X-raid Yamaha Supported Team before the final two stages of the rally.

Camelia Liparoti

Yamaha Motor Europe ROV Racing Coordinator

Today was another incredible day for Yamaha, X-raid and the entire YXZ1000R Dakar project. After our first victory on Stage 8, to complete a podium lockout with just 22 seconds separating the top three is stunning. This was a very tough stage, with the kind of dunes that are so demanding, that one tiny mistake can mean you are in a lot of trouble. Once again, we have shown the potential of the X-raid developed YXZ1000R Turbo prototype, and how serious a contender it is now in the T3 class. Sadly, as is often the case in rally, we also experienced some issues. Ahmed and I managed to finish the stage despite some small technical problems, while Annett and Annie were less fortunate after they rolled their SSV. Luckily, both were unhurt and were able to complete the stage to keep alive their hopes of retaining the Women’s Trophy. Stage 12 will see us finish this grueling marathon segment, but it will not be easy, and we have some work to do on the cars overnight. We have already completed over 4,000km of timed segments and with just three more days to go, the finish line in Dammam is in sight.

Dakar Rally 2023

Stage 11 Provisional Results

1. R.Porém & A.Sanz 3h 19m 11s
2. J.Ferreira & F.Palmeiro 3h 19m 41s +20s
3. I.Casale & A.Leon 3h 19m 33s +22s
32. A.Alkuwari Fahad & M.Lucchese 5h 58m 13s +2h 39m 02s
33. C.Liparoti & X.Blanco 6h 27m 03s +3h 07m 52s
38. A.Fischer & A.Seel 9h 04m 17s +5h 45m 06s

Dakar Rally 2023

General Classification

10. I.Casale & A.Leon 52h 30m 43s +7h11m 28s
14. R.Porém & A.Sanz 56h 09m 14s +10h 49m 59s
18. A.Alkuwari Fahad & M.Lucchese 61h 12m 58s +15h 53m 43s
19. A.Fischer & A.Seel 61h 26m 41s +16h 07m 26s
20. C.Liparoti & X.Blanco 62h 05m 52s +16 46m 37s
35. J.Ferreira & F.Palmeiro 90h 01m 07s +44h 41m 52s