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Mixed Fortunes for Ténéré World Raid Team During Stage 8 at the Africa Eco Race

Mixed Fortunes for Ténéré World Raid Team During Stage 8 at the Africa Eco Race

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team experienced the ups and downs of rally racing on Wednesday in the extreme conditions and barren terrain of Mauritania. Pol Tarrés led the charge as he again powered through to finish the special in sixth, while his teammate Alessandro Botturi suffered bad luck when his chain broke in the dunes and ended the day in 31st.

The Africa Eco Race continued its journey through Mauritania on Wednesday with Stage 8, the first loop section of the rally, with no let-up in the searing 45-degree Celsius heat in sight. Starting with a 24.05km liaison to the beginning of the special stage, the route covered 423.8km over stony tracks and the infamous energy-sapping dunes before returning to the Bivouac at Akjoujt.

Tarrés fought through the sweltering conditions and harsh terrain on his Ténéré 700 World Raid to secure his second consecutive sixth-place finish. Starting from sixth, like during Stage 7, the Spaniard rode with his teammate Botturi for the first part of the stage until the refuelling stop, where a small crash meant he lost contact with his teammate. With no damage to his bike, he remounted and managed to push on and finish the stage in 6 hours, 32 minutes and 43 seconds.

The 29-year-old has finished all but one stage in the top ten, and his consistency is paying off, as he has extended his lead in the +700 class and is sixth in the general classification with a combined time of 41 hours, 53 minutes and 38 seconds.

It was a day of misfortune for Botturi, who is chasing a hat-trick of wins at the Africa Eco Race. Starting in seventh, he was flying through the dunes with Tarrés in the early part of the stage before, unfortunately, just before the third checkpoint, his chain snapped while in the soft sand, and he was forced to wait in the dunes for the rescue truck.

This meant the 47-year-old Italian received a penalty and finished the stage in 31st with a time of 16 hours and five minutes. “Bottu” is now 27th in the overall standings, with a combined time of 57 hours, 49 minutes and 26 seconds, and third in the +700 class with four stages left.

Would you like to follow in the footsteps of Tarrés and Botturi and go on your own two-wheeled adventure? 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 machines used by the team. To find out more about the project and enter the prize draw, click here.

Pol Tarrés – P6 (6:32.43)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today was very tough. It was another long stage with a lot of dunes, making it very difficult, as the sand was so soft. It was also boiling, over 45 degrees, and it honestly felt like the stage would never end. Luckily, the last part of the stage was super-fast, which I enjoyed. I think we are doing a good job, we finished sixth in the stage, and I am leading the +700 class and sixth in the general classification. The Ténéré 700 World Raid has been amazing in these tough conditions. We must stay focused for the next two stages in Mauritania, as it won’t get any easier. I rode with Alessandro until the refuelling, but then I had a small crash. The bike was fine, but by the time I had remounted, I could not see him, so I continued with my race. There is still a long way to go to Dakar, but I am looking forward to Stage 9.”

Alessandro Botturi – P31 (16:05.00)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today was a hard day for me. I was riding well, and while it was very hot and physically demanding, I was enjoying riding my Ténéré 700 World Raid through the dunes alongside Pol until the refuelling point. But then, unfortunately, just before I reached Checkpoint 3, something got into my chain, either a rock or something else, and it snapped. This meant it was the end of the stage for me, and I also received a penalty, but with a long way still to go, I am confident we can finish the last few stages strongly.”

Manuel Lucchese

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“I am happy with how the race is going, as both riders are still in the rally. Unfortunately, Alessandro had some bad luck. You can’t predict these kinds of things, and he was unfortunate as he has been riding so well. Pol is riding a great race and has been so consistent that you almost can’t believe it is only his second rally. We know the following two stages will be some of the toughest of the rally, but no matter what happens, we know we can get through it as a team, and we are getting closer to the goal of reaching the finish line in Dakar.”