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Ténéré World Raid Team’s Botturi Powers to Stage 2 Win in Africa Eco Race

Ténéré World Raid Team’s Botturi Powers to Stage 2 Win in Africa Eco Race

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team’s Alessandro Botturi used all his experience and skill to secure the Stage 2 victory in Morocco and move up to third in the overall standings. His teammate Pol Tarrés put in another solid and consistent ride despite an issue with the roadbook to finish eleventh on the stage and end the day ninth in the general classification.

After a 94km first stage, albeit with over 500kms of liaisons, the Africa Eco Race kicked it up a gear on Wednesday as teams took on the first stage starting from the bivouac. The 447.95km special saw Botturi and Tarrés face the first dunes of the rally, as the terrain became increasingly sandy as the stage went on, plus there were also rocky tracks as they traversed mountains and valleys on their way to the finish line in Tagounite.

Adding to the already epic Africa Eco Race, the rally's organisers have imposed a 150km/h speed limit on all bikes for safety reasons, which removes the advantage of the extra power granted by their two-cylinder Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes against their lighter single-cylinder rivals.

Multiple-Dakar finisher Botturi, and the man looking to make it three victories at the Africa Eco Race in a row, immediately got his head down after starting from fourth and began to make inroads into the tricky terrain. Battling in second and third for most of the stage, he used his navigational expertise to take advantage of a mistake by the riders in front with about 40km left to take the lead.

The 47-year-old Italian did not look back and powered through to win the stage with a time of 5:38.31. Following on from his fourth in Stage 1, this sees “Bottu” move up to third overall in the standings and continue to lead the +700 class.

For his 29-year-old teammate Tarrés, who is competing in just his second rally, it was another superb ride, as he kept with the leaders for the majority of the stage. Unfortunately, an issue with one of the instructions on the roadbook with just 22km to go saw him, and many other riders lose their way. Showing his trademark determination and effort, the Spaniard never gave up and managed to get back on track to finish the stage in eleventh with a time of 7:20.23.

Despite the frustration caused by the fact that an error in the roadbook caused him to lose time on the stage, he knows there is still over 5500km left to make it back in the following ten stages. After today’s result, the 29-year-old is ninth in the general classification, 1:51.15 behind the leader and second in class.

Next for the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team is the 465.69km Stage 3 with a mixture of dunes and stony tracks, which starts from the bivouac in Tagounite and ends at Assa.

If you would like to take on an epic challenge like Botturi and Tarrés, 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 - P1 (5:38.31)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“I am thrilled with the stage victory and to move up to third overall. It came as a bit of a surprise, as our main goal is to reach the finish line in Dakar, so this morning I was not pushing hard, especially as we have a 150km/h speed limit which takes away some of the advantages of having a two-cylinder bike. Despite this, the Ténéré performed superbly in the dunes, I found my rhythm, and I was able to take the win. Thanks to my team for preparing an amazing bike again, and I am looking forward to Stage 3!”

Pol Tarrés – P11 (7:20.23)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“It was a strange day. I was working hard and making good progress. I was pleased with my navigational skills, I wasn’t pushing too hard, and I was over 30 minutes ahead of the rider behind me. But then, 22km from the finish line, there was a mistake with an instruction in the roadbook, and I became completely lost and conceded over an hour to my teammate. It is hard to accept these things, but this can happen in a rally. It is just the second day, I am still learning, and we have ten more stages to fight back and make up the time.”

Manuel Lucchese

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“I am really happy with the riders; they have both been racing very smartly. Alessandro showed his experience today, as he was second or third throughout the stage, but in the last 40km, he used all of his skills to take advantage of a navigation error from the riders in front. He won the stage without pushing and showed how good he is and how capable the Ténéré is. Pol did another great job today, he is still learning at this level, but his focus and determination are incredible. We are really proud of him and his response to a frustrating situation. He is really starting to show his pace, and if both riders continue to show the form and skill they have over the last two days, we could have a good Stage 3 as well.”