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Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team’s Ross Branch Tops Andalucia Rally Stage Two

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team’s Ross Branch Tops Andalucia Rally Stage Two

Taking his first international rally stage win for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team, Ross Branch has topped stage two at the Andalucia Rally, the 365-kilometre looped stage from Villamartin to Villamartin. With Adrien Van Beveren finishing fourth and moving up to third overall after two days of competition, and with Andrew Short sixth, the second of the event’s four stages proved to be a positive one for all Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team riders.

Riding confidently throughout the stage and ensuring he hit all of his navigational marks, Ross Branch opted to make a steady start to the day, knowing well that any mistakes would prove costly. With much of the day’s tracks winding through fields full of olive trees, finding a comfortable rhythm was essential. Clearly benefitting from his time racing near the front of the field during stage one, Branch’s consistent riding aboard his WR450F Rallysaw him finish 42 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, stage one winner Kevin Benavides. Branch’s result lifts him to fifth in the provisional overall results. 

Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team’s second-fastest rider on stage two was Adrien Van Beveren, who now sits third on the provisional overall classification. Using the event to lift his confidence and further improve his navigation, the Frenchman stopped on more than one occasion during the day’s stage, wanting to ensure 100 per cent accuracy in his navigation. Opting to ride safe but fast, Van Beveren finished just over two-and-a-half minutes behind team-mate Branch. 

Putting his disappointing stage one performance behind him and feeling much more comfortable during stage two, Andrew Short finished sixth and less than five minutes down on stage-winner Branch. Enjoying the technical trails, while like many riders opting not to push too hard, Short is now focused on moving inside the overall top 10.

Franco Caimi was another Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team rider to opt for a ‘no risk’ strategy on stage two. Completing what was generally a steady and uneventful day, Franco did lose a little time when he had to stop to remove wire that had got caught around his rear wheel. Finishing 10th the Argentinian sits sixth overall, making it three WR450F Rally powered riders inside the overall top six at the mid-way point of the event. 

The Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team’s fifth finisher, Jamie McCanney, ended stage two pleased with his navigation but having had a few too many off-track excursions. Not able to push to his maximum, the Manxman nevertheless completed the stage successfully and in placing 12th sits 12th overall.

Ross Branch - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

1st - Stage 2

“It feels awesome to get a stage win! It was a great day, I set off steady, minimising mistakes as these can prove costly. Everything is on point. My bike, navigation, and I’m just pumped to take the win today. It’s a great feeling and sets me up for another strong day tomorrow.”

Ross Branch
Franco Caimi - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

10th - Stage 2

“It was a good stage for me today. No risks, just strong riding. I rode in a little bit of dust which wasn’t ideal. In one section I got too close to a tree and some wire got caught up in the bike so I had to stop and remove that so I lost a bit of time there. Besides that, the bike is good, I feel good so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Franco Caimi
Adrien Van Beveren - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

4th - Stage 2

“Today’s stage was good. I started off near the front so there were very few lines. I took my time, stopping to check the roadbook a couple of times to make sure I was heading in the right direction. I lost some time doing this, but it was a better option than going off course. I’m not pushing too hard, it’s still early in the race and I’m riding safe and fast, so I’m happy. My navigation was good so I look forward to another strong day tomorrow.”

Adrien Van Beveren
Andrew Short - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

6th - Stage 2

“Day two is done and it was a positive step for me. I had a much better feeling on the bike and rode a safe stage. It was a little bit motocross style for some of it, where cars had created some sand berms so it was really good fun, I really enjoyed that part of the stage. I had a small issue with a waypoint so I may get a penalty but it’s done now and we look forward to tomorrow.”

Andrew Short
Jamie McCanney - Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

12th - Stage 2

“Not a great day today. My navigation was good, no mistakes with that. However, we changed a tyre and the rear brake pads and I couldn’t quite corner how I’d have liked to. It was strange and I ended up in a drainage ditch a couple of times, which was far from ideal and I lost a bit of time. Anyway, on to tomorrow. My navigation was perfect today so I feel good for tomorrow.”

Jamie McCanney
Alexandre Kowalski

Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager

“Overall, today has been good for the team. Ross won the stage so we are really pleased with that and it’s great for his confidence. He rode great today. The other riders also rode well, the bikes are working well, and tomorrow is another day. We’re in a good place and we’re focused on finishing the rally strong over the next two days.”

Alexandre Kowalski
Andalucia Rally 2020

Stage 2 Provisional Classification

1. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 2:53:38
2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 2:54:20 + 0:00:42
3. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 2:55:54 + 0:02:16
4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 2:56:14 + 0:02:36
5. Toby Price (KTM) 2:56:43 + 0:03:05
6. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 2:58:27 + 0:04:49

10. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 2:59:37 + 0:05:59
12. Jamie McCanney (Yamaha) 3:01:08 + 0:07:30

Stage 1 Provisional Classification
Andalucia Rally 2020

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)

1. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 6:22:20
2. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 6:27:12 + 0:04:52
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 6:29:50 + 0:07:30
4. Joan Barreda (Honda) 6:30:28 + 0:08:08
5. Ross Branch (Yamaha) 6:33:05 + 0:10:45
6. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 6:36:07 + 0:13:47

12. Jamie McCanney (Yamaha) 6:41:50 + 0:19:30
13. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 6:41:56 + 0:19:36

Andalucia Rally 2020

Andalucia Rally 2020 Race Schedule

SSS | Oct 6 | Villamartin to Villamartin | Total: 13 km | SS: 10 km

Stage 1 | Oct 7 | Villamartin to Villamartin | Total: 309 km | SS: 240 km

Stage 2 | Oct 8 | Villamartin to Villamartin | Total: 365 km | SS: 270 km

Stage 3 | Oct 9 | Villamartin to Villamartin | Total: 434 km | SS: 300 km

Stage 4 | Oct 10 | Villamartin to Villamartin | Total: 233 km | SS: 210 km