Hélder Rodrigues and his WR450F Rally delivered a great performance for the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team on the third stage of the Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar, securing a podium finish. Due to his sensational race on today’s sprint, he climbed two positions in the combined rankings; he is now in 4th position overall, with just a 2’30-minute gap to make up over the last two days of competition to finish off the race with an overall podium.
After today’s third stage at the Sealine Cross Country Rally (SCCR), the riders have now completed over 1400
–kilometres, of which 930 kilometres were timed stages. The race conditions are very exhausting and the riders have to keep a steady pace in the constant heat. This morning at the departure of the special, two world-class riders announced their withdrawal, citing previous injuries sustained in the race.
The SCCR course format is complex and the stages are getting even harder for the riders as they are based on navigation abilities, with many direction changes on difficult terrains. The daily road-books are saturated with plenty of navigation notes. On the eve of each new stage, the riders have to study the road book provided by the organisers, a sort of a series of maps with specific rally-raid symbols, that indicate the mandatory check points of the next day’s stage. At the SCCR, more than in any other race, the riders have to devote a substantial amount of time to getting familiar with their road-book, which could cut into rest time. Nonetheless, with Jordi Arcarons as the new Sport Manager supporting the riders, and the Yamaha Racing technical team confirming the right set-up for the new WR450F Rally, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team keeps improving their performance.
Hélder Rodrigues and his WR450FRally roared along the track today and he ended up on the stage podium. Whether racing on the rocky terrain of the Qatari desert or on the sandy coasts of the Persian Gulf sea, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally rider displayed his ability to handle hard stages, tackling the navigational challenges. He kept up the pace and attacked strongly for a decisive result: 15 minutes made up in the overall classification. By finishing third on today’s stage, Rodrigues sharply spiked to fourth place overall. He has two remaining stages left to bridge the gap to his rivals to access the overall podium.
Adrien Van Beveren, in good momentum after yesterday’s stage win, was able to stay focused and gain more experience on his new WR450F Rally today. He left in second place from the start line but quickly caught up to the first competitor and took the lead. The young rider was then leading the pack for almost 200 kilometres until the refuelling, alone on the unmarked route for the first time of his still fledgling career. Adrien Van Beveren made good time again: he ended up fourth on the stage, closely behind his teammate Rodrigues.
Next Stage: April 21st
This afternoon, after Stage 3, the competitors received an even-bigger road-book for the longest stage of the 2016SCCR competition (345km). The fourth stage format will be a combination of the characteristics encountered on the first three; with directional changes to take into account every 400 metres tomorrow. The riding level demanded is quite exceptional but the Yamaha riders and their WR450F Rally are ready to tackle it.
Hélder Rodrigues, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
3rd / +08:10, 4th / +23:29
“We completed one more race day in this competition, me and my teammate Adrien with our WR450F Rallys, which are performing very well. It was one more difficult stage, with another complicated road-book, navigation challenges and the same sweltering heat. The SCCR is a gruelling race but I am delighted to be on the podium today, it bodes well two days before the finish! My goal is clearly to fight for the podium now; I will attack stronger tomorrow, without taking any unnecessary risks, of course. I am determined. Tomorrow’s stage will be the longest of this rally and I need to stay 100% focused. As for the Yamaha team, there are only good things to say and I really enjoy riding my WR450F Rally.”