Adrien Van Beveren Increases Overall Lead In Merzouga Rally
Successfully completing the marathon stages of the 2019 Merzouga Rally on his WR450F Rally, Adrien Van Beveren now holds a near 23-minute advantage at the top of the provisional overall motorcycles class results. Placing second on today's stage four, the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider once again navigated superbly, finishing just under four minutes behind the eventual stage winner.
Holding a commanding overall lead heading into the second half of the marathon stage, the fifth and penultimate day of the Merzouga Rally featured a 205.27-kilometre special stage and more challenging navigation. Preparing his WR450F Rally himself at the marathon bivouac, Van Beveren was the first rider into the stage and opened the tracks throughout the day.
Easing his pace a little and focusing astutely on his navigation, the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider nevertheless made a handful of small navigational errors, yet remained at the front of the motorcycle class. Despite only pushing at around 80% of his maximum, Van Beveren yet again went on to ride a near faultless stage. Second fastest to the day's first check point - and comfortably faster than his closest rival in the overall classification - he then went on to record the second fastest time to the second and final check point.
In finishing as runner-up on stage four Van Beveren holds a sizeable near 23-minute advantage with just one day of competition remaining.
The fifth and closing stage of the 2019 Merzouga Rally will see all competitors compete in the Grand Prix des Dunes - a mass start race into the day's 40.30-kilometre special stage.
Adrien Van Beveren
Yamalube Yamaha Official Team Rider
"I am very pleased with the way the marathon stages have gone for me, and really enjoyed them. Yesterday everything went well again. More tricky navigation, but importantly I had a great feeling with my bike and to win was fantastic. Being in the marathon bivouac last night was great fun - spending time with other competitors, and some of the riders that gave me great advice when I first started in rally, it was so cool. I arrived there with my bike in perfect condition, so today I focused on doing another good navigation. Opening the stage all day was tough, but again this race is the perfect training for me because I have to be completely focused on my road book, not following any other tracks from other riders. I did make some mistakes and got lost a few times, but I took my time. I was riding more like I would in training, not at 100%. It was a very good stage for me. I feel good, my bike is perfect, so now I look forward to the final dune stage."
Merzouga Rally 2019
Stage 4 Provisional Classification
1. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 3:08:15
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 3:32:12 +3:57
3. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 3:34:22 +6:07
4. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 3:37:13 +8:58
5. Sebastian Buhler (DEU), KTM, 3:43:26 +15:11
Merzouga Rally 2019
Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 14:33:01
2. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 14:55:59 +22:58
3. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 15:03:18 +30:17
4. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 15:07:19 +34:18
5. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha), 15:16:44 +43:43
Merzouga Rally 2019 - Race Schedule
Prologue / March 31 / Erfoud
Stage 1 / April 1 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 2 / April 2 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 3 / April 3 / Erfoud to Marathon Bivouac
Stage 4 / April 4 / Marathon Bivouac to Erfoud
Stage 5 / April 5 / Extreme GP