Yamaha’s Rodrigues: FIM Rally Champion

FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship

After four podiums that include a race win in the 2011 FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship, Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues is world champion. This was the first FIM title for Rodrigues, who was a constant threat at this year’s Dakar Rally.

This came after Rodrigues took second aboard the Yamaha WR450F at the fourth and final round of the Cross Country Rally World Championship, the Pharaoh’s Rally in Egypt last weekend, which was won by KTM’s Marc Coma.

In round one at Abu Dhabi, Rodrigues finished second, and followed that race by a win in Tunisia. Rodrigues took third in Sardinia before taking second and ultimatelty the title at the Pharaons Rally in Egypt.

Yamaha says Rodrigues started the competition not wanting to test fate but soon settled into a rhythm and through the six stages eventually managed to conquer three of them to classify behind Marc Coma. Helder was pronounced Portugal’s very first champion of the discipline.

Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha WR450F) says: "More than ever I wanted to race without taking any risks and happily I was able to come through the six stages problem-free. I worked so hard to try and reach the top and this title is a fantastic reward and now we have a new challenge to improve our classification at the Dakar."

Rodrigues can now fully focus on the 2012 Dakar rally, beginning once again in South America in the first days of January. The new FIM number one will be aiming to better his third place from this year’s edition of arguably the toughest race in the world.

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).