In Lima, Peru since the beginning of this week, the team of Adrien Van Beveren, Franco Caimi, Xavier de Soultrait and Rodney Faggotter are all-set and focused on making history for Yamaha in this historic 40th edition of the prestigious event.
Following a solid season of international rally competition and equipped with the latest edition of the Yamaha WR450F Rally machine, the crew led by team director Alexandre Kowalski will take to the start of the 2018 Dakar early on Saturday morning. Following the instructions of team manager José Leloir and highly-experienced sport manager Jordi Arcarons the quartet of riders will try to improve on last year's fourth-place result, aiming to take Yamaha even higher in the final overall rankings.
Working tirelessly in recent months to further improve both his physical conditioning and navigation skills, the 2018 Dakar Rally is the perfect opportunity for Adrien Van Beveren to show he can go head-to-head with the elite of international rally racers. At the top of his game and determined to give his best during the next two weeks, Adrien is ready to do battle in South America.
Showing his acute skills from the first moment he got on the works WR450F Rally machine earlier in 2017, Franco Caimi knows he has what it takes to battle for stage victories in South America. Spending a considerable amount of time training on the rally bike since September, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rookie is looking forward for his first Dakar aboard Yamaha machinery.
Following a solid 2017 season that saw him claim numerous race and stage victories, Xavier de Soultrait is more than ready for the big adventure. Focusing his preparation in further improving his navigational skills during recent months, the Frenchman is confident of a strong performance in this year's event.
The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team is completed by Rodney Faggotter, with the Australian entering his second consecutive Dakar Rally aboard the works WR450F Rally machine. Spending time training in the warmer conditions of the Australian countryside, Rodney is eyeing a top five overall result in this year's event.
In recognition of the imminent return of one of Yamaha's the most iconic adventure motorcycles, the team's four WR450F Rally machines will be carrying the Ténéré 700 World Raid name and graphics throughout the event.
Yamaha's presence this year will be further strengthened by experienced racers Alessandro Botturi and Camelia Liparoti. With Alessandro entering his seventh Dakar, Camelia will make a debut appearance in the SSV class in Yamaha's YXZ1000R side-by-side machine.
Securing a 67th place overall result in his first Dakar participation in 2017, Yamaha Motor Japan supported racer Shinnosuke Kazama is back for more this year. Racing a WR450F machine, the Tokyo native has his eyes set on reaching the top 50 this year.
This 40th edition of the Dakar is expected to be one of the most demanding in recent history. Starting from Lima, Peru, competitors will contest 4,500km of timed special plus another 4,500km of liaison sections on their way towards the finish line. The big finish will take place in Córdoba, Argentina on January 20.
"Physically and mentally I am more than ready for this challenge. I've spent the last few months training hard and focusing on my physical preparation. It all went well and I'm happy to say that I feel I am in the best condition I can be. I did lots of training on the rally bike in the sand and I'm ready for the demanding first few stages in Peru. We also spent a week in Morocco with the team in the beginning of December. Our sport manager Jordi Arcarons had prepared for us some tricky road books and I am happy with the progress we made during this session. For this Dakar I want to be part of the fight for the top spots as soon as the race begins. The race is going to be long and the level of competition is really high, but I am all-set to get things started."
"I'm really looking forward to the start of the race tomorrow. We have a great team and we all work together towards the same goals. Since our last big event in Peru in September I got a rally bike back home in Argentina and I was able to put some good training kilometres on it. The last big test with the team took place in Morocco in December and that was also a great learning experience. We've made some great progress during the last few months in every little aspect of the bike and our preparation so now it's time to make things happen. We all know this is going to be a tough Dakar but I really can't wait for it to begin."
Xavier de Soultrait - Yamalube Yamaha Official Team #23
"I worked really hard this last year and I'm more than ready for the Dakar challenge. Together with racing various events, my focus during the last few months has been to further improve my navigation skills. After more than 20,000 racing and training kilometres in 2017, I feel that now I'm capable to trust my instincts and make better decisions faster when it comes to finding the right tracks. I feel really good at the moment. I've been working a lot to plan and analyse every little detail for the coming two weeks. My focus now is 100% on the race and I can't wait for it to begin."
"I'm really happy to be taking the start of the Dakar. I can't thank enough Yamaha and our team for giving me the opportunity to make my dream of competing at this big event come true. The last couple of months I did a lot of miles back home in Australia in really warm conditions and I think this will help during the first few stages in the dunes of Peru. The 2018 Dakar is going to be long and challenging but I am ready for it. I want to keep a steady pace that I can gradually improve as the race goes on to the fast sections of Argentina. I will be out there to provide help to my teammates if and when they need me, while also trying to get the best possible result for myself."
"Everything has been going according to plan and we are set for this big challenge. All the members of the team arrived in Lima in the beginning of this week and we immediately started preparing ourselves for the race. Based in Alexis Hernandez' workshop here in Lima, we had the chance to make the last checks on our rally machines. On Wednesday afternoon, we also did a small testing session to finalise our bikes setup according to the temperature and conditions. All is well at the moment and I am more than happy to say we have a great team spirit. We are all motivated to push hard and keep the fight for the top step of the podium going until the very end of this adventure. The Dakar is the biggest and most important race of the year for us and we are all focused on leaving our mark in this special 40th edition of the event."