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Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team All Set For 2016 Merzouga Rally

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Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team All Set For 2016 Merzouga Rally
Enjoying stage wins and podium success during the first two rounds of the 2016 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders Helder Rodrigues and Adrien Van Beveren are now ready to take on their next challenge - contesting the first event of the 2016 Dakar Series, the Merzouga Rally in south-east Morocco.

Following a strong start to the 2016 rally season and an overall podium result in the Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar, highly-experienced Helder Rodrigues is confident he can challenge for top honours in this five-stage event. Six years after claiming outright victory at the first edition of the Merzouga Rally, the Portuguese rally star is no stranger to the dunes of Morocco. While focused on challenging for another victory, Helder and the entire Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team will also use the event as an important training race ahead of the upcoming Dakar Rally.

"I'm really looking forward to this race. I'm feeling better every time out so I'm confident this event will be another positive step in the right direction," Rodrigues said.

"All of us in the team have been working hard and the new WR450F Rally bike is becoming an ever better machine with the more races we compete in. Last time out in Qatar we managed to earn a podium result so obviously the next step for us would be to fight for victory. This is what the team wants and that's also where my mind will be during the next few days. It's going to be a tough event but I feel we've progressed a lot during the last few months and this gives me the added confidence to fight for the best possible result."
Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team All Set For 2016 Merzouga Rally
Already a stage winner in his debut rally racing season, Rodrigues' teammate Adrien Van Beveren aims to continue his impressive 2016 campaign at the Merzouga Rally. Looking forward to more racing time aboard his WR450F Rally machine, the Frenchman has already put his name amongst the favourites for stage victories in the dunes of Morocco.

"I'm happy I'm lining up for one more rally - the Merzouga Rally. For me it's really important to get as much racing time as possible in order to gain more experience ahead of my second Dakar," Van Beveren explained.

"I love testing myself in competition and my goal is to make the most out of this challenge in order to improve. The terrain and the conditions in Morocco are ideal to test ourselves, too. Overall we've done a tremendous amount of work with the WR450F Rally and it's down to us now to prove the capabilities of our new machine. I'll try to remain focused and avoid mistakes and if everything goes to plan I know we can fight for a good overall result in this rally."

Jose Leloir, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team manager, added, "The Merzouga Rally gives us a great opportunity to continue our hard work ahead of the upcoming Dakar Rally. Merzouga is a long and demanding race with tricky navigation and long stages in sandy or stony terrain.

"We want to offer our riders more time in real racing conditions and help them further improve their navigation skills. Up until now we're really satisfied with the development of our WR450F Rally bike. Our target is to have a competitive machine that offers high levels of confidence to our riders in all conditions, allowing them to show 100% of their abilities. We know that each one of our riders is capable of winning stages.

"It's a long rally and each day will bring a different challenge. We're confident we can fight for the podium and like always we'll give our best to make it happen," Leloir concluded.

Kicking off with a Prologue on Sunday, May 22, the 2016 edition of the Merzouga Rally will see 122 participants set off for a six-day adventure of more than 1,000 kilometres in the dunes of south eastern Morocco.

Main Photo: Helder Rodrigues

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