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Stunning Start for Ténéré World Raid Team at TransAnatolia

Stunning Start for Ténéré World Raid Team at TransAnatolia

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, fought through torrential rain to make a superb start to the TransAnatolia rally, with Pol Tarrés and Alessandro Botturi securing five stage podiums between them to currently sit in second and third overall, respectively, and 1-2 in class after two days of action.

The TransAnatolia sees Tarrés and Botturi traversing from the east to the west coast of Turkey, covering over 2,300km in just seven days, with the pairing competing in the B2 class on their twin-cylinder Ténéré World Rally adventure bikes, as well as racing against the 450cc prototype machines.

After Saturday evening’s ceremonial start in Samsun on the Black Sea coast, the action kicked off in earnest on Sunday. At the TransAnatolia, each day of the rally involves the riders racing two special stages, but due to torrential rain on Sunday morning, the first special was cancelled.

This meant Tarrés & Botturi had a longer liaison to Strabon before taking on a 122.34km special that ended in Tokat. The rain made the terrain even trickier, with flash floods, mud and slippery rocks all playing a part. Undeterred by all of this, and even though he is still recovering from a leg injury, Tarrés immediately showcased his pace.

The Andorran got the hammer down after opening the stage, finishing the day in second overall, and taking the B2 class victory with a time of one hour, 54 minutes and 10 seconds. In doing so, he finished the special just 22 seconds behind the winner, an impressive feat on his production-based GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Rally.

Botturi also enjoyed a great start, with the Italian participating in his first international rally since the 2022 Africa Eco Race. The 48-year-old showed no signs of rustiness as he powered to fourth overall and second in class, with a time of one hour, 56 minutes, and 37 seconds.

Monday saw the duo leave the bivouac in Tokat, with the weather still wet and foggy, for a 27km liaison to the start of the third special, which was 141.91km long. They then had a short 3km liaison to the 75.51km fourth stage before a 90.49km liaison to Sivas, for a total of 338.21km in one day.

Tarrés again led off the stage and showed impressive speed, securing another podium and finishing the first special of the day in second place with a time of two hours, 29 minutes, and 57 seconds. After the refuelling stop, the 29-year-old kept up his rhythm to complete Stage 4 in one hour, 15 minutes, and 14 seconds and maintain his 100% stage podium record as he finished in second and took the B2 victory once more. Tarrés ended the day in second overall and first in class, just three minutes and two seconds behind the winner.

His teammate Botturi also enjoyed an excellent Monday, as he powered to third overall on Special Stage 3 with a time of two hours, 31 minutes, and 35 seconds. The winner of the 2014 TransAnatolia then matched this result with a third-placed finish on the final special of the day to record his second stage podium after setting a time of one hour, 16 minutes, and 38 seconds, which saw him just three minutes and two seconds behind his teammate's time for Monday.

These results from the first three special stages mean Tarrés currently sits second overall and leads the B2 class in the general classification, with a combined time of five hours, 39 minutes and 21 seconds, just one minute and three seconds off first place.

Botturi’s double podium on Monday means the Italian has a total time of five hours, 44 minutes and 50 seconds, which moves him up to third overall and second in class after the first two days.

Day three of the TransAnatolia involves a 59.82km liaison from Sivas to Çayralan before a 145.29km special to Felahiye. They then have another 22.04km liaison to the start of the 72.91km Special Stage 6, plus a further 59.16km liaison to the bivouac in Göreme, with a total of 359.22km to cover in the day.

Day 1 Results

Day 2 Results

Overall Classification After Day 2

Pol Tarrés

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“The first day was a big surprise for me. There is such a high level of competition here. I was not expecting to be battling at the front and only 22 seconds off the stage win. I feel good with the Ténéré. We made a few tweaks to its setup, which has made a huge difference. It is the first race since my leg injury, so I am happy I can be so competitive. To then follow that up with second again on day two was great. I am just one minute and three seconds behind the overall leader, which means we are in a strong position. It is great to see my teammate Alessandro in third overall, too. I actually had to open both days, so I was riding at the front with no one to follow for about 70% of the time; therefore, I am pleased with my navigational skills. So far, the rally has been physically demanding, as we have had long days and lots of mud and rain, but I have been enjoying it. Now, I need to take each day at a time and stay focused.”

Alessandro Botturi

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“It has been a positive first two days here in Turkey. This is my first international rally since the Africa Eco Race in 2022, so I am happy with my pace so far. The weather on the first day made it tricky, but we have found a really good rhythm despite the conditions. I finished fourth overall on day one, but then I was able to push even harder on the second day and finish third, which means I am now third overall and only five minutes and 29 seconds behind the leader. The competition here is very strong, so it is great to see how competitive we are. Still, there is a long way to go, but Pol and I are feeling strong, so I think we can continue to battle at the front.”

Marc Bourgeois

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“The first two days have been excellent. We tried a few setup tweaks, which meant Pol and Alessandro found a really good feeling with the bike during the shakedown. Despite the torrential rain, they both hit the ground running on the first day and have just gotten stronger on each special stage. For Pol to finish just 22 seconds behind a 450cc prototype on Sunday shows you how much potential he has, and we had both riders on the overall podium on day two, with them currently 1-2 in what is a much more competitive B2 class. The aim for us is to use this rally to prepare for the Africa Eco Race, and so far, so good. Both riders are very fast and feel happy and confident with the bike, so we are looking forward to day three.”

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.