Enjoying a highly positive start to the 2018 Dakar Rally, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team saw three of its riders finish inside the top seven in the provisional overall standings. Headlining the team's efforts in this short opening stage, Adrien Van Beveren was second with his teammates Xavier de Soultrait and Franco Caimi securing fifth and seventh respectively. Reaching the finish of the stage without any issues, Rodney Faggotter posted the 25th fastest time.
Taking competitors away from the busy streets of Lima and towards the Peruvian dunes, the opening stage of this year's Dakar Rally featured a short but demanding 31km-long timed special. Attacking the special stage from its very start, Adrien Van Beveren remained fast and mistake-free to eventually post the second-best time for the day. Placing himself in the runner-up spot in the provisional overall standings, the Frenchman is hoping for an equally strong performance tomorrow.
Enjoying a great feeling aboard his WR450F Rally machine, Adrien's teammate Xavier de Soultrait wrapped up the first stage of this year's Dakar with a solid fifth place result. Remaining focused on his navigation, the Frenchman proved fast throughout the day and is now looking forward to the race's first long stage tomorrow.
For Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Franco Caimi, this short opening stage was the perfect opportunity to shake away pre-race anticipation. Making a positive start, the Argentinean finds himself seventh in the provisional overall standings, one-minute and 31 seconds behind the provisional overall leader.
Taking his time to settle in, Rodney Faggotter brought his Yamaha to the finish of today's stage in 25th position. Feeling good in the warm temperatures of the Peruvian countryside, the Aussie is looking to continue building on his speed during the coming stages.
Tomorrow's stage two of the 2018 Dakar Rally features a circular route that starts and finishes in the city of Pisco. Including a short liaison section of just 12km, stage two will see competitors race a 267km-long timed special in sandy conditions. It will be the first of many difficult stages in this big adventure towards the finish line of the 2018 Dakar Rally.
Dakar Rally 2018 - Stage 1 - Provisional Classification
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 00:20:56
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 00:21:28, +00:32
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 00:21:51, +00:55
4. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 00:21:42, +00:56
5. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 00:22:02, +01:06
6. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 00:22:18, +01:22
7. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 00:22:26, +01:30
26. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 00:25:31, +04:35
35. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 00:26:33, +05:37
Race Schedule - Dakar Rally 2018
Stage 1 | Jan 6 | Lima to Pisco | SS: 31km | Total: 272km
Stage 2 | Jan 7 | Pisco to Pisco | SS: 267km | Total: 278km
Stage 3 | Jan 8 | Pisco to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 295km | Total: 501km
Stage 5 | Jan 9 | San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 330km | Total: 444km
Stage 5 | Jan 10 | San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa | SS: 264km | Total: 770km
Stage 6 | Jan 11 | Arequipa to La Paz | SS: 313km | Total: 758km
Rest Day | Jan 12
Stage 7 | Jan 13 | La Paz to Uyuni | SS: 425km | Total: 726km
Stage 8 | Jan 14 | Uyuni to Tupiza | SS: 498km | Total: 584km
Stage 9 | Jan 15 | Tupiza to Salta | SS: 242km | Total: 754km
Stage 10 | Jan 16 | Salta to Belén| SS: 372km | Total: 795km
Stage 11 | Jan 17 | Belén to Fiambalá | SS: 280km | Total: 484km
Stage 12 | Jan 18 | Fiambalá to San Juan | SS: 375km | Total: 722km
Stage 13 | Jan 19 | San Juan to Córdoba | SS: 423km | Total: 904km
Stage 14 | Jan 20 | Córdoba to Córdoba | SS: 119km | Total: 284km
You may find all the images from the 2018 Dakar Rally here.
Adrien Van Beveren - Yamalube Yamaha Official Team #4
2nd Stage 1
"The Dakar has started and that feels good. We've been working hard all year for this event so it felt good to get things started here in Peru. As for the special stage, I decided to attack from the start. I pushed hard but one-kilometre into the special there was a big dune with a big jump on its back side. I took it easy and continued the rest of the special on my own pace. My goal for the rest of the days is to stay fast while also making sure I avoid taking risks. We have a great bike and our setup makes things even easier in the dunes. Overall, I'm really happy with the way this Dakar started and I'm looking forward to the coming days."
Xavier de Soultrait - Yamalube Yamaha Official Team #23
5th Stage 1
"Everything went fine for me today. The special stage was quite short and lasted a little more than 20 minutes. My bike was running great from start to finish and I posted a good time. I'm fifth now but really close to the riders in front in the overall standings. The real race starts tomorrow, with the first long and challenging rally stage of this Dakar. I'm ready for the challenge. I've worked hard during the last couple of months and I'm looking forward to the longest stages of this Dakar."
Franco Caimi - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team #7
7th Stage 1
"It was a very good stage for me and I'm really glad this race has started. There's been a lot of anticipation and some tension in the months and the weeks leading to this big event, so it felt as if the pressure was off once we got going this morning. The last couple of weeks and days have been really long as we were all looking forward to the race. It feels great to be here racing my Yamaha in the dunes of Peru. The bike feels great and I could hardly ask for anything better. I'm waiting for the first big stage of the race tomorrow. My goal is to gradually improve my pace from now on until the very end of the race."
Rodney Faggotter - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team #44
25th Stage 1
"Stage one went pretty well for me. With it featuring a short 30km-long special stage, I did my best trying to settle in as smoothly as possible. Riding in the deep sand demands a specific technique and I'm gradually getting used to it again. With riders starting in reverse order, we needed to be extra careful when passing people. I played it smart and tried to avoid making any mistakes. Overall, everything is going according to plan and I'm happy we got this event going. It's going to be a long and demanding two weeks of racing, but I'm more than ready for them."