Incredible Effort from the Ténéré World Raid Team Ensures Strong Stage 10 Result at Africa Eco Race

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team showed incredible teamwork as they overcame adversity to enjoy a superb Friday in Mauritania. Pol Tarres continued his remarkable consistency to record his eighth straight top-seven finish in fourth, while the team worked through the night to prepare Alessandro Botturi’s bike, allowing him to rejoin the rally and finish the special in seventh.

Stage 10 of the Africa Eco Race was the second loop special of the rally, which started and finished at the bivouac in Ouad Naga, where 90% of the 456km special consisted of soft sand, and the rest was made up of the notoriously tricky Mauritanian dunes. The heat became a significant factor, too, as temperatures reached close to 50 degrees Celsius in the searing desert sun.

Pol Tarrés continued the incredible run that has not seen him finish outside the top seven since the second stage. After his maiden rally podium in Thursday’s special, the Spaniard set off from third and was preserving energy in the early part of the stage before he caught another rider and, feeling physically good, decided to step it up a gear. Powering through to the end, the 29-year-old finished the special riding alongside his 450cc rivals as he did on Stage 9 to secure fourth with a time of five hours, 44 minutes, and 23 seconds.

In the process, Tarrés extended his lead at the top of the two-cylinder +700 class to over nine hours. He remains fifth in the general classification, with a combined time of 48 hours, 31 minutes and 34 seconds, having clawed back some time in the rider ahead of him in fourth.

After being stuck in the dunes for over 24 hours when his chain broke during Stage 8, Botturi and his bike finally arrived with the rescue truck to the bivouac in Ouad Naga at midnight on Thursday, having been forced to miss Stage 9. Understandably exhausted, the Italian needed to rehydrate, rest, and get some sleep. At the same time, the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team pulled off a minor miracle in stripping and rebuilding his bike overnight to allow the 47-year-old to start the special at 7 am on Friday.

Classified in 24th overall after Stage 9, overnight penalties meant Botturi started the stage from 30th. Despite not feeling 100%, he showed incredible resilience to give it absolutely everything over the course of the special. Passing riders at regular intervals, the two-time Africa Eco race winner showed his class to finish the stage in seventh in five hours, 59 minutes and 54 seconds. This meant the 47-year-old moved up six places to 24th in the general classification and is now fourth in the +700 class with a combined time (including penalties) of 84 hours, 51 minutes and 20 seconds.

Pol Tarrés – P4 (5:44.23): « Today, we knew it was a critical stage for us. It was a very challenging special, and the heat was incredible; I had never felt anything like it. Plus, it was one of the longest stages, and nearly the entire 456km was made up of soft sand, so it was extremely tiring. I tried to ride intelligently and preserve energy, but after quite a few kilometres, I was still feeling good, so I decided to push a little more without taking any risks. I was riding with another bike, and we caught the stage winner from yesterday and stayed together. I am delighted to finish in fourth and also to gain some minutes on the rider behind me in the general classification. It was also great to see Alessandro back and pull off an amazing ride to seventh despite how tired he was. The whole team worked through the night on his bike. This is Yamaha; we always work together for the best result, no matter what. There are two stages to go, and we have left the majority of the dunes behind, so I am looking forward to the next stage and arriving in Senegal. »

Alessandro Botturi – P7 (5:59.54): « This morning was difficult. After my chain broke on Stage 8, I was stuck in the dunes. The rescue truck arrived but also got stuck, so we had to wait for over 24 hours for the second truck, and I did not get back to the bivouac until midnight on Thursday. I was exhausted, but when I woke up, I saw how hard the entire team had worked through the night to get the bike ready. I was in awe, I could not respect my team more, so it motivated me to take on the stage and get the best result possible to pay them back for their efforts. The stage was tough because it was so hot, and I was tired from my time in the dunes, but I gave it everything, and I am happy to have finished in seventh. The most important thing, and our aim throughout this race, has been to get to the finish line in Dakar, and thanks to my team, this dream is still possible. »

Manuel Lucchese – Team Manager : « I am delighted, as for this stage; I think the whole team really made a difference. We all came together last night to work on Alessandro’s bike, and I think every member of the team is a true hero, as we pulled off something special to rebuild and get Alessandro’s bike ready in time for today. The performance of both riders on the hottest day of the rally was incredible. Our strategy now is for Pol and Alessandro to ride together for the rest of the rally to allow us to achieve our dream of being the first twin-cylinder adventure bike to arrive at Lac Rose in Dakar and complete the Africa Eco Race. »