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Yamaha Riders Continue Their Dominant Form At Merzouga Rally 2017 | Latest

Franco Caimi has won the first part of the two-day marathon stage ahead of teammate Xavier de Soultrait, increasing his gap in the overall standings at the Afriquia Merzouga Rally 2017.

Going from strength-to-strength at this year’s event, Yamaha’s official representatives enjoyed a great day of racing in the Moroccan dunes. As the second rider to start the special stage, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rookie Franco Caimi was on top form throughout the day. Remaining fast while avoiding costly mistakes the Argentinean topped the day’s standings to claim his first stage victory aboard Yamaha machinery.

Battling for the stage victory for a fourth consecutive day, Xavier de Soultrait finished a little less than two minutes behind his Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team partner, thus settling for the runner-up position on stage four of the rally. Continuing his impressive run aboard the latest edition of Yamaha’s WR450F Rally machine, the Frenchman is now leading the provisional overall standings with a gap of more than six minutes to his closest challenger.

Successfully battling his way through a demanding stage four, Alessandro Botturi brought his Yamaha machine home in eighth position. With two stages remaining at this year’s Merzouga Rally, the Yamaha Italy supported rider is currently placed fifth in the overall standings.

With all three Yamaha riders reaching the marathon bivouac without any issues, they had a limited amount of time to prepare their bikes for stage five. Taking riders back to Erfoud, tomorrow’s stage will be the second and last part of this year’s marathon stage at the Merzouga Rally.

José Leloir- Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team manager
“It’s been a great day for the team. Reaching the marathon bivouac without any problems, Franco claimed the stage win and Xavier managed to extend his gap in the overall. Continuing to impress, Franco had a blistering pace today. Without making any mistakes he reached the finish of the stage having posted the fastest time for the day. As the third rider to start the stage, Xavier quickly caught up with the riders in front. Before the end of the first part of the timed special he suffered a small and harmless crash losing a bit of time. He came back stronger in the second part pushing hard to post the second fastest time for the day. Our riders just had 15 minutes to refuel their bikes and prepare them for tomorrow. Making the most of the time given, they performed all the necessary checks and are ready for stage five.”

Merzouga Rally 2017 – Stage 4 – Provisional Classification
1. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 03:16:26
2. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 03:18:23, +01:57
3. Gerard Farrés (ESP), KTM, 03:19:49, +03:23
4. Juan Pedrero (ESP), Sherco, 03:20:50, +04:24
5. Joaquim Rodrigues (POR), Hero, 03:24:46, +08:20
6. Mario Patrao (POR), KTM, 03:25:52, +09:26
8. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 03:29:13, +12:47

Merzouga Rally 2017 – Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
1. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 10:36:18
2. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 10:42:25, +06:07
3. Franco Caimi (ARG), Yamaha, 10:54:29, +18:11
4. Juan Pedrero (ESP), Sherco, 111:11:11, +34:53
5. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 11:15:02, +38:44
6. Jacopo Cerutti (ITA), Husqvarna, 11:24:04, +47:46

Xavier de Soultrait