30 setembro 2012

Verhoeven na Yamaha por dois anos

Yamaha Motor Europe and Yamaha Motor Netherlands have teamed up with the Dutch Dakar rider Frans Verhoeven to challenge for the 2013 and 2014 Dakar Rally. The "Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven" team will be competing with an officially supported Yamaha 450 four-stroke machine, entered through the famous Yamaha Motor France rally structure, and are aiming to complete the world's toughest off road motorcycle challenge within the top five positions. Rider and team owner Frans Verhoeven will be supported by his own experienced staff along with a dedicated Yamaha Motor France mechanic for full technical support. Yamaha has a strong record of success in the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally and can claim the first ever Dakar victory in 1979 with Cyril Neveu aboard the Yamaha XT 500, going on to repeat the success the following year in 1980. Success continued with the legendary Super Ténéré, taking an impressive six victories with Stéphane Peterhansel from 1991-1993, (in 1991 the Ténéré took the top three podiums spots) 1995, 1997 and 1998. 

The move to South America over the last four years has also delivered success including Hélder Rodrigues winning 2 stages and finishing third in last years Dakar, and on four wheels with Yamaha taking victory in the special quad bike category. Verhoeven entered his first Dakar in 2005 and achieved his best result in 2009 with an eighth place finish. The Dutch endurance rider has claimed three stage victories and recorded two top three stage finishes in 2012. 

Laurens Klein Koerkamp (Yamaha Motor Europe Racing Manager) says: "We are confident that our goal is realistic and can be achieved. The Dakar is the toughest off road motorcycle race in the world, we want to enter and compete with the best and its fantastic that with joined efforts of several organizations within the Yamaha group we have been able to make this happen. The experience and ability of Frans are essential ingredients to this project." 

Arno Sunnotel (Yamaha Motor Netherlands President) says: "I believe this combination has real winning potential. The Dakar is a key event for Yamaha and the ultimate test for our 450 machine. For our market it's also great to have a Dutch rider in the highest ranks of the competition." 

Frans Verhoeven says: "I have proved I can win stages and I could have been in the top five on several occasions if it had not been for bad luck and mechanical issues. Now with the reliability and speed of the Yamaha 450 I believe we can finally show our true potential." 


28 setembro 2012

Honda levanta o véu à nova moto para 2013

A Honda já garantiu o regresso em força à prova mítica do Todo-o-Terreno mundial, o Rali Dakar, mas as novidades começam agora a recair sobre a máquina em que o português Hélder Rodrigues estará aos comandos no arranque da prova já em Janeiro de 2013.

Numa conferência de imprensa realizada no Japão, o presidente da HRC, Tetsu Suzuki, desvendou as primeiras imagens da moto que trará o regresso da Honda oficial ao emblemático Dakar Peru Argentina Chile. 

Foram igualmente desvendados alguns dos detalhes trabalhados pelos responsáveis da Honda em prol da nova moto, pormenores que serão oficialmente apresentados já na primeira semana de Outubro, por ocasião da Intermot, uma das maiores feiras internacionais de motos realizada anualmente na cidade alemã de Colónia. 

O Rali de Marrocos, prova marcada de 14 a 20 de Outubro de 2012, deverá ser o primeiro confronto direto da equipa oficial da Honda com a nova moto que, segundo o presidente da estrutura, já está na sua quinta atualização. A mais recente foi beneficiada por uma inspeção dos técnicos da marca em terras sul-americanas, impressionados com o elevado rendimento das ganhadoras motos da KTM. 

Por entre os cinco pilotos que integram a estrutura da Honda no Dakar, apelidada por Team HRC, Hélder Rodrigues será um importante ‘chefe de fila’ e com condições apropriadas à conquista do trono que atualmente pertence ao francês Cyril Després.

27 setembro 2012

Al-Attiyah de buggy com motor Chevy V8 em 2013?

We have learned that Nasser Al-Attiyah will drive a buggy built by his own team on the 2013 Dakar. He also intends to compete in a number of cross-country rallies next year and focus on qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games, even if that means taking part in fewer WRC events. Nasser Al-Attiyah is one of only two of the 12 Qatari athletes who qualified for the London Olympics to have won a medal. This weekend marks his return to the WRC at the wheel of his Citroën DS3 WRC/Michelin. He clearly prefers gravel to asphalt, however, since he was already 2m37s behind the leader after today’s first three stages. 

In his defence, he hasn’t driven competitively since May’s Acropolis Rally. Nasser made statements to a rally publication that he intends to take part in the 2013 Dakar in a buggy that is being built by his own team which is based in California, USA. For the moment, the staff comprises around 30 people and the project is backed by Qatar and Red Bull. The team will run two buggies, although the driver of the second car has yet to be confirmed. “But why not Carlos Sainz,” suggested Nasser himself. 

The two buggies will be powered by a seven-litre Chevy V8 engine and the lightweight machines will benefit from longer suspension travel and an electro-pneumatic system that can adjust tyre pressures from the cockpit, which is ideal when switching from rocky ground to sand dunes. The Qatari also told us that he would like to compete on BFGoodrich rubber. For 2013, he could well take part in fewer WRC events and contest a few more cross-country rallies. He will also start shooting again in a bid to qualify for the Olympic Games for the sixth time, in Rio, in 2016.