Updated: Putting in a great fight today in the mountains of Argentina, Adrien Van Beveren claimed a strong third place result during the 2017 Dakar Rally's penultimate stage. Currently fourth in the rally's provisional overall standings, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider is determined to give his all to bring Yamaha on the rally's final podium.
Divided in two parts, today's 288-km-long special featured a mix of sandy dunes and open mountain roads. Opting to make the most of his vast sand riding experience, Van Beveren went on the attack from the start of the special. Going past the first checkpoint as the day's provisional leader, the WR450F Rally mounted rider made one small navigational mistake that saw him eventually wrap up today's stage with the third fastest outright time.
Following almost two weeks and more than 8,000km of racing Van Beveren is highly motivated to take his battle for third to the finish. Currently placed 48 seconds behind the rider provisionally in third, the Frenchman knows that anything is possible during tomorrow's final stage to Buenos Aires.
In what's been a positive stage for the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team, Adrien's teammate Hélder Rodrigues posted the 13th fastest time during the day's timed special to earn himself a spot inside the top 10 in the rally's provisional overall standings. With Hélder ninth in the overall with one stage remaining, both Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders look set to finish inside the 2017 Dakar Rally's top 10.
Stage 11 proved to be quite challenging for Yamaha France's Xavier de Soultrait. Enjoying a nearly faultless race so far, one that's twice seen the Frenchman claim top three stage results, Xavier suffered a mechanical issue right after the start of today's timed special, which made it almost impossible for him to continue. Reaching the start of the second part of today's special Xavier has been so far unable to go beyond WP4. It's a harsh blow for the Frenchman who spent half of the race holding on to sixth in the provisional overall standings before dropping to eighth after yesterday's stage 10.
Dominating today's timed special Russia's Sergey Karyakin was 20 minutes faster than any of his competitors in the Quad class. Holding on to an impressive lead of more than one hour in the provisional overall standings the Raptor 700R mounted rider looks set to claim the first Dakar Rally victory of his career tomorrow in Buenos Aires.
Despite including a short 64-km-long timed special tomorrow's final stage will be extremely crucial for the outcome of the 2017 Dakar Rally. Following two weeks and more than 8,000km of racing, competitors will head south and towards Buenos Aires - the city that will also host the 2017 Dakar Rally's final podium ceremony.
Untitled Adrien Van Beveren - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
3rd Stage 11 / 4th Overall
"I did my best today to get back inside the top three in the overall. The first part of the timed special included lots of sandy dunes and I felt really comfortable to push there. I got a pretty good race pace but at some point I saw some people pointing me in the wrong direction. Luckily it took me just a few seconds to understand I was out of track so I didn't lose a lot of time. The second part of the special was different. It had some quite fast parts in the mountains. We were locked in a great battle for the top three with Farrés today. Unfortunately I was handed a one minute penalty for speeding and now I am less than a minute behind him in the overall. For tomorrow I want to keep the same momentum. I know I can be fast, but I also know I need to stay 100% concentrated on my navigation. It's just a short stage but I'll do my best to get on the final podium."
Untitled Hélder Rodrigues - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
13th Stage 11 / 9th Overall
"It was a good day for me and I'm happy I finally got to secure a spot in the top 10 in the overall. I tried to do my own race, while keeping an eye on Adrien and trying to assist him in any way that was possible. He's now fourth overall and a podium result would be the best reward for the team and all our hard work since the start of last year. For me the race didn't go exactly according to plan but I'm looking forward to reaching the finish of my 11th Dakar tomorrow. It was a very tough event with lots of challenges. We've been through everything that was thrown at us and we also proved that we've built a very competitive and super reliable bike. I'm glad I've been part of this big project and I hope to celebrate a podium result tomorrow with Adrien."
Untitled José Leloir - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team manager
"We had a very tight battle today for the top three but due to a small penalty Adrien is still fourth overall. We still have one day to go and we need to stay positive. Our gap to the rider in third is small. Adrien showed today that he can perfectly handle the added pressure. Despite this just being his second Dakar, he's shown impressive maturity as a racer. He's been through a lot during these part two weeks and he totally deserves to get podium result. After a cautious start to the race Hélder has been building up on his speed during the last few stages and today he managed to get inside the top 10 for the first time during this rally. As for Xavier, he's made a statement this year, showing he has the potential to battle with the best riders in the world."
Dakar Rally 2017 - Stage 11 - Provisional Classification
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 03:16:57
2. Paulo Gonçalves (POR), Honda, 03:18:47, +01:50
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 03:22:25, +05:28
4. Gerard Farrés (ESP), KTM, 03:24:51, +07:54
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 03:26:12, +09:15
6. Pela Renet (FRA), Husqvarna, 03:26:49, +09:52
13. Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 03:35:33, +18:36
Dakar Rally 2017 - Overall Classification [After Stage 11 of 12]
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 31:34:11
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 32:07:20, +33:09
3. Gerard Farrés (ESP), KTM, 32:11:33, +37:22
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 32:11:21, +38:10
5. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 32:21:42, +47:31
6. Paulo Gonçalves (POR), Honda, 32:26:57, +52:46
9. Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 33:34:57, +02:00:46