– Excellent cross-country rally debut for Mattias Ekström
– Both X-raid Yamaha in the Top 10
The Hail Baja 2 in Saudi Arabia heralded a new chapter in the company’s history for X-raid: for the first time, the team from Trebur lined up at a rally with a side-by-side. The two Yamaha YXZ1000R prototypes were driven by Mattias Ekström / Emil Bergkvist and Camelia Liparoti / Annett Fischer. For Ekström and Bergkvist, this was also the first start at a cross-country event. They enjoyed a fine debut, ending the Baja in seventh place. Liparoti and Fischer finished in tenth position.
Mattias Ekström: « The first day was really exciting for me, and the special stage was a challenge from start to finish. I was very positively surprised by how much fun it was. We did not have any technical issues and everything went well with regard to the navigation. The route was totally different today: much faster with a lot of straight sections, and navigation was more difficult. All in all, it is an awful lot of fun but also difficult, particularly the navigation and roadbook. Furthermore, I still have to get used to the Yamaha, which is totally different to drive compared to the race cars I have driven previously. However, betting the car home without any technical issues and in one piece is cause to celebrate. »
Camelia Liparoti: « Driving the Baja with the new Yamaha was great fun. I am pleased that we were able to take part in the Baja before the Dakar, as the car is brand-new and every kilometre is important. We also had to make a few modifications. The routes for the past two days were very varied: yesterday was very technical, today there were a lot of fast sections. That was really beneficial, as we were able to test the car in different situations. The X-raid Yamaha was very good and had no issues. I am very happy with the result. We may only have been competing in the National class, but this is only for locals who know the region like the back of their hand. »