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Ténéré World Raid Team Maintain Charge on Day 5 at TransAnatolia

Ténéré World Raid Team Maintain Charge on Day 5 at TransAnatolia

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team’s Pol Tarrés secured a stage win and a further two podiums during the three specials on Thursday at the TransAnatolia to extend his overall lead, while teammate Alessandro Botturi recovered from a small crash to ensure they preserved their 1-2 in the general classification.

Heading into the fifth day of the rally, Tarrés (9h29m41s) was leading the way in the overall general classification, with Botturi in second (9h35m50s), and had a nine-minute and 57-second advantage over the rider in third. The Yamaha 1-2 in Turkey is even more impressive because the duo are competing on their twin-cylinder adventure bikes in the B2 category against a host of 450cc prototype machines in the B1 class.

Thursday was the only day at the TransAnatolia that featured three special stages, with the rally returning to the Turkish mountain ranges after the previous day's riverbeds and salt lakes. Heading out from the bivouac in Haymana, the team had a 57.57km liaison to the start of the 124.66km Special Stage 9 in Sakarya before a 63.41km liaison to Frigya and the beginning of the tenth stage, which covered 66.6km. They then took on another 40.29km liaison to the famous town of Afyonkarshir before a short 2.5km third special of the day that was more of a motocross-style course on the grounds of Afyon Castle.

After a tricky day four that saw Tarrés mentally and physically drained due to leading out most of the stages so far and still recovering from a leg injury sustained before the rally, the Andorran bounced back superbly on Thursday. Right from the word go, he went into full-on attack mode on his GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Rally, finishing the first stage in third place with a time of one hour, 29 minutes, and 41 seconds.

More importantly, the 29-year-old ensured he once again extended the gap to the rider third in the general classification. Not content to rest on his laurels, Tarrés increased this advantage even more during Special Stage 10 by finishing in third to secure another podium after setting a time of one hour, two minutes, and 47 seconds, just 47 seconds behind the winner.

The best was yet to come, though, as Tarrés made the most of the short eleventh stage and showcased his enduro skills to take his first stage victory of the rally by a margin of seven seconds, maintaining his 100% podium record in Turkey, and extending his lead in the general classification over his teammate in second to 11 minutes and 23 seconds.

It was a more challenging day for Botturi, with the 49-year-old forced to show all of his usual trademark experience and determination to bounce back after a crash during the first stage. Escaping serious injury, the Italian rider had some bruising to his shoulder but dusted himself off and carried on despite his navigation tower being damaged.

He managed to finish the stage in fifth, with a time of one hour, 34 minutes, and seven seconds, limiting the time lost to the winner of the special to just six minutes and 53 seconds. The team were able to carry out repairs at the assistance point, and Botturi fought back on the tenth stage. He gritted his teeth to bring it home in fourth after setting a time of one hour, three minutes, and 21s. He then completed stage 11 in three minutes and five seconds to secure sixth, which saw him hold onto second place in the general classification, with a 20-second gap to the rider in third.

Day sixth of the TransAnatolia sees Tarrés and Botturi leave the bivouac in Afyonkarshir and begin the day with a 33km liaison to the start of the 64.67km Special Stage 12. They then have another 26.42km liaison to Dumlupinar for the beginning of the 102.21km stage 13 before a 43.03km liaison to the bivouac in Simav, with a total distance of 269.33km, making it the shortest day of the rally.

Special Stage 9 Results

Special Stage 10 Results

Special Stage 11 Results

General Classification After Day 5

Pol Tarrés - P1 (12h05m00s)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“After a hard day on Wednesday, today I rode “Tarrés style!” I just attacked right from the start. I was happy with my navigation, and the feeling with Ténéré was amazing, allowing me to push on. I was on the podium in the first two stages and won the last stage to extend my lead in the general classification. I am really happy, and I have shown that yesterday was just one of those days. Now I need to re-focus for tomorrow, ensure I make no mistakes, preserve my energy, and take it stage by stage.”

Alessandro Botturi – P2 (12h16m23s)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today was a tough day for me; a crash on the first stage meant I lost a few minutes, but luckily, apart from being a bit bruised and hurting my shoulder, I am okay. The issue was that I had some damage to my navigation tower, which made the rest of the stage a lot harder. I returned and finished the stage in fifth while the team managed to repair the bike at the assistance point. I then just tried to stay focused and make sure I maintained second place in the overall classification. I finished the second stage in the fourth and the final short stage of the day in sixth, and I still have a 20-second advantage over the rider in third. There are just two days left now, but there is still a long way to go, and we will fight to the finish.”

Marc Bourgeois

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“Today was a bit of a mixed day, but I am proud of the riders and the team. Pol bounced back from a challenging fourth day to show what he is capable of. His navigation was superb, and he was flying. He just gave it full gas today, did not make a mistake and opened up a big lead at the top of the general classification. Alessandro showed his usual incredible determination. He crashed on the first stage, hurting his shoulder and damaging his navigation tower. In typical “Bottu” style, he picked himself up and showed what he is made of. Luckily, we could fix the damage at the assistance point, and Alessandro showed great spirit to fight back. Things like this can happen in rally raid, and it is how you react that counts. I think the whole team did a great job today. We will give it everything for the last two days of the rally.”

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.