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Botturi Battles Back to the Podium during Stage 4 of the Africa Eco Race

Botturi Battles Back to the Podium during Stage 4 of the Africa Eco Race

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team’s Alessandro Botturi bounced back after a technical issue on Thursday, followed by a penalty, to secure third place during Stage 4 of the Africa Eco Race in Morrocco. His teammate Pol Tarrés continued his consistent form with another spirited ride in the gruelling heat of the desert to finish in seventh.

Stage 4 of the Africa Eco Race saw the riders cross a mountain range and traverse dry lakes during the 455km special that ran from Assa to Remz El Quebir, with temperatures rising to over 45 degrees Celsius, adding to the difficulty of an already challenging route.

After winning the second stage, a technical issue saw Botturi lose two hours and cross the line in ninth during Stage 3, dropping him down to sixth overall. To confound matters for the Italian, he was later given a three-hour penalty for leaving the special stage area while trying to solve the problem, which saw him demoted to 20th in the general classification. Determined to make up the time, the seven-time Dakar finisher displayed the fortitude and skill that has seen him emerge victorious in the last two Africa Eco Races.

When the stage got underway, starting from ninth, the 47-year-old set an incredible pace on his Ténéré 700 World Raid and was focused on making up as much time as possible as he closed the gap to the riders in front of him, passing them one by one.

After 350km, he was riding alongside his teammate Tarrés, and they continued together to the finish line with Botturi recording his second podium of the rally as he ended the stage in five hours, 24 minutes and 49 seconds to finish third, 20 minutes and 56 seconds behind the winner. This result meant that “Bottu” gained 11 places in the overall standings and is now ninth, with a combined time of 23 hours, 8 minutes and 13 seconds, and second in the +700 class.

Spaniard Tarrés has impressed since Stage 1 in what is only his second competitive rally event, and he continued that form on Friday despite, like many other riders, feeling the effects of the extreme conditions. After recording his career-best stage finish of fourth on Thursday, the 29-year-old continued to show how much he is learning and improving at this level with another excellent ride during Friday’s stage.

Starting from fourth, he found himself riding on his own for the first 350km, and despite his lack of experience, was almost faultless with his navigational technique, apart from a tiny mistake that did not cost him any time. Despite feeling exhausted from the combination of high temperatures and extremely tough terrain, Tarrés got a second wind when he found himself riding in a group alongside his teammate Botturi with about 100km to go and powered home to finish with a time of five hours, 34 minutes and 39 seconds.

This result means he retains sixth in the overall standings, with an overall time of 20 hours, 43 minutes and 53 seconds, three hours, 10 minutes and 18 seconds behind the leader, plus it also means he has taken the lead in the +700 class.

Stage 5 of the Africa Eco Race on Saturday sees the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, take on the longest day of the rally with a special of 450.82km, followed by a 240.95km liaison as they travel from Remz El Quebir to Dakhla, ahead of Sunday’s rest day.

Would you like to win the same bike ridden by Botturi and Tarrés in the Africa Eco Race? If so, Yamaha Motor Europe has teamed up with Riders for Health, powered by Two Wheels for Life, to give you a chance to win one of the official rally-spec Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes used by the team. To find out more about the project and enter the prize draw, click here.

Alessandro Botturi - P3 (5:24.49)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“I am very happy with this result. Yesterday’s minor technical issue and subsequent penalty meant I was determined to make up as much time as possible. Today was tough, physically and mentally, as the stage was not only challenging, but the extreme heat added to the difficulty, but my Ténéré 700 World Raid coped superbly. I pushed, but as previously mentioned, our objective is to reach the finish line, so I was also wary of any mistakes. I caught Pol with about 100km to go, and it was great to ride together to the finish line. I am happy with the amount of time we have made up after yesterday, and to be back in the top ten overall is a good feeling. Tomorrow is the rally's longest stage, but that just gives me a better chance to claw back some more time, so I am already looking forward to it.”

Pol Tarrés – P7 (5:34.49)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today was another good result. I have been working so hard on my navigation, and today, I am happy as I was riding alone for long periods and only made one little mistake that didn’t really cost me any time. I must admit, about 300km into the stage, I found myself struggling a bit as I had been riding on my own for so long in the sun, but then towards the end of the stage, there was a group of us riding together. I enjoyed battling with the other riders and was happy to get to the finish line ahead of the rest of them. I am also delighted for my teammate Botturi; to fight back the way he did for the podium was incredible. Looking at the general classification, I can’t believe I am in sixth in only my second rally, so I will remain focused and try to continue this form in Stage 5.”

Manuel Lucchese

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“It was a really good stage for us today, and it was great to see both riders cross the finish line together. After his technical issue yesterday, Alessandro had to start from ninth, quite a long way behind Pol, but with 100km to go, he had caught him up, and they rode together to the end. They both rode with a steady pace and safely, which is very important as we want more than anything to get to the finish line in Dakar. After yesterday’s issues, “Bottu” is already making up the lost time and moving up in the general classification, while Pol is showing amazing consistency. It is incredible how much he has learned in such a short space of time. I honestly could not be happier with how they are both riding and their amazing attitudes. Tomorrow will be a very long stage, but then we have a rest day before heading into Mauritania's notoriously tough dunes.”