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Xavier De Soultrait Wins Stage Two Of Merzouga Rally 2017 | Latest

Xavier de Soultrait claimed an impressive victory on stage two of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally 2017 to extend his overall lead.

Assigned with the demanding task of opening the tracks for the greatest part of the 181km-long special stage, de Soultrait combined raw speed with experience to post the best time and win the stage. Enjoying a perfect run to the event so far, the Frenchman will keep on pushing hard with the goal to become the third Yamaha mounted rider to claim victory at the Merzouga Rally.

Stage two brought some mixed fortunes to Xavier’s Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team partner Franco Caimi. Demonstrating good speed, the Argentinean got off to a very strong start in the special stage. Getting the provisional stage lead Franco was racing towards victory but suffered a navigational mistake that forced him to settle for seventh at the finish. Currently fifth overall, Franco will continue battling to improve his results in the provisional overall rankings.

For former Merzouga Rally winner Alessandro Botturi stage two was another demonstration of the Italian rider’s maturity as a racer. Avoiding costly mistakes, the Yamaha Italy supported racer posted the third fastest time in today’s special stage and is currently third in the rally’s provisional overall standings.

For a second consecutive day, tomorrow’s stage three will see competitors race a circular route around the city of Erfoud. With final details yet to be announced, it is expected to be one more test of the riders’ navigational skills and stamina.

“I’m a bit over the moon with my result from today’s stage,” said Soultrait. “In the morning, I felt under pressure as I had to open the tracks for the most part of the special stage. With no other rider having ridden the stage before us, there were no marks so I had to create my own tracks in the sand. It was difficult but I managed to come out on top, posting the fastest time of the day. Franco caught up with me midway through the stage and we helped each other for the next few kilometres. I managed to open up a decent lead in the overall standings and my goal now is to maintain this gap during the next few stages. The feeling on my bike is amazing so I can’t wait for the rest of the race.”

Merzouga Rally 2017 – Stage 2 – Provisional Classification
1. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 03:31:12
2. Gerard Farrés (ESP), KTM, 03:35:12, +04:00
3. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 03:38:15, +07:03
4. Juan Pedrero (ESP), Sherco, 03:38:21, +07:09
5. Ivan Cervantes (ESP), KTM, 03:40:05, +08:53
6. Adam Tomiczek (POL), KTM, 03:41:33, + 10:21
7. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 03:41:49, +10:37

Merzouga Rally 2017 – Overall Classification [After Stage 2]
1. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 04:01:06
2. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 04:09:04, +07:56
3. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 04:11:31, +10:23
4. Juan Pedrero (ESP), Sherco, 04:13:51, +12:43
5. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 04:13:54, +12:46
6. Ivan Cervantes (ESP), KTM, 04::14:52, +13:44