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Double Podium for Ténéré World Raid Team on Challenging Day 4 at TransAnatolia

Double Podium for Ténéré World Raid Team on Challenging Day 4 at TransAnatolia

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, showed superb fighting spirit on a tricky weather-affected fourth day at the TransAnatolia in Turkey. Pol Tarrés maintained his lead in the general classification after finishing the only special stage of the day in third, while Alessandro Botturi secured second to ensure the duo remained 1-2, respectively, in the general classification.

After an excellent start to the rally, Tarrés (9h02m09s) and Botturi (9h09m44s) were first and second in the overall general classification, with the former’s lead over the rider in third 12 minutes and nine seconds. A feat made all the more impressive considering they are racing twin-cylinder production-based adventure bikes in the competitive B2 class (451cc-700cc) against 450ccc prototype machines in the B1 category.

Wednesday would prove to be a trickier challenge than they had faced so far, as they swapped the rocky mountain paths for muddy riverbeds and the famous salt lake of Tuz Gölu. The heavy rain of the past few days in the Cappadocia region would also play a part, with the second special stage of the day cancelled after a few checkpoints due to the treacherous conditions which made Lake Tuz unrideable.

The day started with a 61km liaison from the bivouac in Göreme to Bellsirma. Then Tarrés and Botturi had a 28.1km special to conquer before another 71.68km liaison to what would have been the longest stage of the rally. After beginning the physically demanding 166.52km second special of the day, the cancellation notice came through, and the duo headed to the bivouac in Haymana.

With only one timed stage counting, Botturi, competing in his first international rally since the 2022 Africa Eco Race, led the charge after both riders, along with most of the other competitors, made a small navigational error. Recovering superbly, the 49-year-old Italian showed all of his experience to finish Special Stage 7 in second and claim his fourth podium of the rally with a time of 26 minutes and six seconds, just 46 seconds behind the winner.

Tarrés, feeling mentally and physically drained after leading out most of the stages during the rally and still recovering from an injury he sustained to his left leg just one month before the event, showed incredible fortitude. Determined to protect his lead in the general classification, and despite struggling with the change in terrain, the 29-year-old Andorran brought his GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Rally home in third to maintain his 100% podium record and limit the damage to his lead.

His time of 27 minutes and 32 seconds saw him concede only two minutes and 12 seconds to the stage winner, the rider third in the general classification. This meant that Tarrés’ combined time after the fourth day was nine hours, 29 minutes and 41 seconds, which sees him six minutes and nine seconds ahead of his teammate Botturi and nine minutes and 57 seconds ahead of the rider in third.

With just three days left, Thursday will see Tarrés and Botturi return to the Turkish mountains to take on three special stages. First, they will leave the bivouac in Haymana for a 57.57km liaison to the start of the 124.66km ninth stage in Sakarya before a 63.41km liaison to Frigya for the beginning of the 66.60km Special Stage 10. Then they have another 40.29km liaison to the final special of the day, a short but technically demanding 2.5km climb up to the famous Afyon castle, before heading to the nearby bivouac in the surrounding town of Afyonkarahisar.

Special Stage 7 Results

General Classification After Day 4

Pol Tarrés - P1 (9h29m41s)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today, I was feeling the effect of opening most of the stages so far; I was a bit mentally and physically drained, as due to my injury, I did not have much time on the bike before the rally. Like most riders on the stage, I made a small navigational error that cost me a bit of time, but I am happy with how I recovered and managed to stay first in the general classification. It was an important day for me, as it was a completely different terrain from the mountains, and it was harder to follow the road book, but I am happy that I managed to stay calm and focused. I am still learning every day, and tomorrow, we return to the mountains, where I feel really strong. In rally raid, you can have bad days. Today was one of those, but as tricky days go, it wasn’t too bad as I did not lose much time. I am happy for Alessandro; he showed his class again, and we are still 1-2. The important thing is to forget about today, reset mentally and physically, and focus on the next day.”  

Alessandro Botturi – P2 (9h35m50s)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today was another strong day for me, despite making a small navigational mistake that caught out most of the riders. I finished in second and was only 46 seconds from the stage winner, and I am starting to gel with the Ténéré again. I have been building my feelings with the bike daily, and with each stage, I am gaining more confidence, which is a great sign for the Africa Eco Race. Pol recovered superbly, and for us to be first and second in the general classification is amazing and important for the team. There are still three more days to go, and the main thing now is to remain focused, keep pushing and fight for the best result possible.”

Marc Bourgeois

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“Today was challenging for both riders, but they recovered superbly to secure a double podium and maintain their 1-2 in the general classification. The terrain was completely different compared to the mountains we have been used to on this rally. The second stage was cancelled as the salt lake was too muddy after the heavy rain, so it was the right decision to call off the stage as it could have been dangerous. Days like this can happen in rally raid, but as tough days go, we are happy to accept one like this. Tomorrow is a new day, and we return to the mountains, so we will reset and go again.”

The Great Adventure

Botturi and Tarrés are racing together at the TransAnatolia for the first time since they re-wrote the history books at the 2022 AER. An exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary about their extraordinary exploits in Africa, “The Great Adventure”, is out now on Amazon Prime Video for subscribers in Italy and coming soon to other regions. The hour-long film, produced by Yamaha Motor Europe and directed by Francesco Teo, has also been nominated for an award at the prestigious International Motor Film Awards, and you can watch it here.

Join Botturi and Tarrés at the 2023 Africa Eco Race

After such monumental exploits in 2022, Yamaha Motor Europe and Riders for Health, powered by Two Wheels for Life, are giving two people the chance to join the Ténéré World Raid Team on the 2023 AER. The team works in partnership with the charity to raise awareness of their tremendous work in supplying, managing, and maintaining motorcycles for health-focused operations in Africa.

The incredible prize on offer includes return flights to Dakar, Senegal for two people, two nights bed and breakfast at the 5-star King Fahed hotel in Dakar, plus the chance to meet and greet the Ténéré World Raid Team during the podium ceremony at Lac Rose. To find out more and to enter the prize draw, click here.