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Eric de Seynes and co-driver #camelialiparoti today successfully completed the opening stage of Rally #andalucia, which was shortened from 257 to 177 kilometres for reasons of security. The Yamaha pairing were impressed with the precise handling of the X-Raid developed YXZ1000R prototype, which they piloted to 49th place, to finish ten places higher than in yesterday’s prologue.

The first full special stage tested the drivers and their cars with a challenging course that featured approximately 70 kilometres of tight and twisty sections before the landscape opened out to allow higher speeds. The hard and slick Spanish course included plenty of elevation changes, encroaching vegetation and some tricky gravel sections where grip proved unpredictable. With traction varying throughout the course, the competitors had to maintain razor sharp focus from start to finish.

Competing in the highly competitive FIA T3 class, #ericdeseynes and co-driver #camelialiparoti started the first special stage strongly, attributing their pace to the confidence-inspiring chassis of the Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype. After catching and passing some of their closest rivals in the technical sections at the start, it was a case of holding off those same opponents in the second half of the stage, where the gearing wasn’t optimal for the faster, more open sections.

After finishing 12th in the prologue stage yesterday, ‘The Breyner Brothers’ Manuel and Pedro made incredible progress throughout the 177-kilometre opening stage. The Franco Sport duo showed great form in their YXZ1000R and are expected to finish inside the top-10 in the Open SSV category, although the Official Results for this particular class are yet to be confirmed.

After taking the spotlight with the fastest time during the opening prologue yesterday, experienced YXZ1000R European Cup competitors Mario Franco and co-driver Nuno Guilherme suffered a technical issue one hour into the opening stage today and had to return to the bivouac.

The next stage of the #andalucia Rally will take place tomorrow, Friday 14th May, and is set to be the lengthiest of the whole rally. It will feature as the second stage and will consist of 339 kilometres of timed special.

Eric de Seynes

Driver: Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype #251

“The track was nice. It had a special rhythm. The difficulty was the amount of grip available as it was changing a lot depending on the nature of the ground and the sand. The gravel is very slippery, there is absolutely no grip, but when the terrain changes, the grip is much better. We needed to take care, because there were some traps on the stage today. The first 70 kilometres was relatively twisty and we gradually caught the guys in front of us, managing to overtake three or four rivals. Unfortunately, the second part of the stage was much faster, and when it was really fast we were a little bit in between gears; fourth gear was a bit too low and fifth gear a little too high. On a positive note, we had a good rhythm and, having passed cars on the side of the track that were out of the race due to errors, we could see that it was easy to make mistakes. Other than one missed corner, where I had to be careful not to stall the car in the sand, we had an error free run. It’s getting better, the chassis of the car is really strong and you can take the corners 10 or 20 kph faster with good control. I’m really impressed with the chassis and we won’t make any major changes for tomorrow.”

Camelia Liparoti

Co-Driver: Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype #251

“The goal today was to finish with no damage to the car, to learn and to find our rhythm. I’m happy to say that we achieved our goal! Eric found his rhythm right from the start, perhaps he was a little too fast in the beginning, but he was quick to realise that conditions were quite tricky and backed off slightly to prioritise safety. We knew we were running a good pace because we started to catch the #people in front of us, overtaking three or four guys. I really tried to focus on the navigation today. I felt super comfortable with the new electronic road book, and I am really happy about this because it is the first time for me co-driving a FIA World Cup Rally with this device.”