Ross Branch Tops Andalucia Rally Stage Two
Taking his first international rally stage win for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team, Ross Branch has topped stage two at the Andalucia Rally, the 365-kilometre looped stage from Villamartin to Villamartin. With Adrien Van Beveren finishing fourth and moving up to third overall after two days of competition, and with Andrew Short sixth, the second of the event’s four stages proved to be a positive one for all Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team riders.
Riding confidently throughout the stage and ensuring he hit all of his navigational marks, Ross Branch opted to make a steady start to the day, knowing well that any mistakes would prove costly. With much of the day’s tracks winding through fields full of olive trees, finding a comfortable rhythm was essential. Clearly benefitting from his time racing near the front of the field during stage one, Branch’s consistent riding aboard his WR450F Rallysaw him finish 42 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, stage one winner Kevin Benavides. Branch’s result lifts him to fifth in the provisional overall results.
Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team’s second-fastest rider on stage two was Adrien Van Beveren, who now sits third on the provisional overall classification. Using the event to lift his confidence and further improve his navigation, the Frenchman stopped on more than one occasion during the day’s stage, wanting to ensure 100 per cent accuracy in his navigation. Opting to ride safe but fast, Van Beveren finished just over two-and-a-half minutes behind team-mate Branch.
Putting his disappointing stage one performance behind him and feeling much more comfortable during stage two, Andrew Short finished sixth and less than five minutes down on stage-winner Branch. Enjoying the technical trails, while like many riders opting not to push too hard, Short is now focused on moving inside the overall top 10.
Franco Caimi was another Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team rider to opt for a ‘no risk’ strategy on stage two. Completing what was generally a steady and uneventful day, Franco did lose a little time when he had to stop to remove wire that had got caught around his rear wheel. Finishing 10th the Argentinian sits sixth overall, making it three WR450F Rally powered riders inside the overall top six at the mid-way point of the event.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team’s fifth finisher, Jamie McCanney, ended stage two pleased with his navigation but having had a few too many off-track excursions. Not able to push to his maximum, the Manxman nevertheless completed the stage successfully and in placing 12th sits 12th overall.