You are about to leave this website. Are you sure?

I agree, take me there

Ténéré World Raid Team’s Tarrés Powers to Maiden Rally Podium on Stage 9 of Africa Eco Race

Ténéré World Raid Team’s Tarrés Powers to Maiden Rally Podium on Stage 9 of Africa Eco Race

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team’s Pol Tarrés was involved in an incredible battle on his 700cc twin-cylinder machine against his 450cc rivals during Thursday’s special stage before powering through to take third and secure his career-first rally podium in only his second event.

Stage 9 of the Africa Eco Race saw the team leave the bivouac at Akjoujt after two nights for a 411.77km special through the desert to Ouad Naga. Once again, soft sand and dunes were the order of the day, but towards the end of the stage, there were also stretches of gravel tracks that allowed for some faster riding.

Temperatures again under the Moroccan sun were above 45 degrees Celsius, and after the physically exhausting Stage 8, Thursday’s special was going to be a stern test for all the riders. Tarrés belied his inexperience at this level to showcase his ability and how much he has progressed since making his rally debut at the Tunisia Desert Challenge in April.

Setting out from sixth, the Spaniard started to chase down the riders in front before becoming involved in a sensational fight for the podium on his Ténéré 700 World Raid with a number of rivals on lighter, and therefore nimbler through the dunes, 450cc machines. Defying logic, the 29-year-old not only kept up with them but, at one point, was absolutely flying and just two seconds behind the leader.  

Maintaining his momentum till the end, in what was a dramatic and exciting finish with three riders pushing all the way to the line, Tarrés came out on top to secure third, his first podium in the rally class and the team’s third of the race, in four hours, 45 minutes and 57 seconds.

The Spaniard moves up to fifth in the general classification with a combined time of 42 hours, 47 minutes and 11 seconds and now has a lead at the top of the all-important +700 class for twin-cylinder machines of eight hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds.

For his teammate Botturi, it was a case of more misfortune. After the Italian’s chain broke on Stage 8, he was awaiting the rescue truck on Wednesday evening, but that too got stuck, and along with several other riders, sadly, he was not able to make it back to the bivouac in time for the start of the Thursday’s special. Despite being unable to participate in today’s stage, the 47-year-old Italian is still in the race. "Bottu" was classified as 34th for the stage, which saw him drop to 30th in the overall standings but remain third in the +700 class.

Stage 10 of the Africa Eco Race sees the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, take on the second loop of the rally, starting and ending at the bivouac in Ouad Naga, in what could prove to be one of the most challenging specials of the entire event. The 456.04km stage is made up almost entirely of dunes, and with no let up from the searing Mauritanian sun in sight, it should prove to be another tough test of man and machine.

Would you like to own a bike identical to the ones ridden by Pol and Alessandro? 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 – P3 (4:45.57)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“I knew today was important as the Mauritania leg of this rally is the toughest. The navigation today was tricky, plus there were some really fast sections mixed in with lots and lots of dunes. I pushed as hard as I could during the first part of the stage to catch the two riders ahead of me. We then rode together for a while, and when we got to the final sand section, we just went for it. Honestly, it was like a dream, battling with the 450cc machines on my Ténéré 700 World Raid…it was just amazing. Securing my first podium is very special, but we still have three more stages. My plan tomorrow will be to race alongside another rider like today, so we can be safer, finish the stage and make sure we get to the end in Dakar.”

Alessandro Botturi - P34 (20:02.00)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Obviously, I am very disappointed in not being able to take part in today’s stage. I am fine, and I was looking forward to racing, but unfortunately, the rescue truck got stuck, and along with eight or nine other riders, we could not get back in time to make the stage start. This is rally. I will give it everything to finish the race in as strong a way as possible. I would also like to congratulate Pol on his first stage podium, it is a very special feeling, and he has put a lot of effort in since this project started, so he deserves this reward.”

Manuel Lucchese

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“I am so happy! Since our first race at the Tunisia Desert Challenge, Pol has been dreaming of the podium; therefore, I am delighted he managed to get it today. Today was a tough stage, and nearly all soft sand or dunes, which are conditions that do not play to the strengths of our Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes, but Pol showed how capable he and the bike is, not only by managing to race alongside the 450cc machines but to beat them to the line. Honestly, bearing this in mind, today almost feels like a victory. He has been growing every day at this rally. His consistency and attitude have been incredible, and I could not ask for more from him. If he can continue like this for the remaining stages, we could secure a very good result. In rally, unfortunately, bad luck can happen. In Tunisia, Alessandro won the race while Pol suffered; here, Alessandro has had all the misfortune. He was riding so well, with a stage victory and further podium, but sadly, after his issue yesterday, the rescue truck that picked him up got stuck, so he could not make the start of today’s stage. He will bounce back from this even stronger, and we are now focused on finishing the last three stages so we can see the finish line in Dakar.”