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This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Marc Coma returns to racing in Abu Dhabi.



After his victory in the Dakar 2009 in Argentina & Chile, Marc Coma returned to his KTM 690 Rally today to take part in the first round of the World Cross Country Championship, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Today saw the prologue, a 2 kilometre super-special where the overriding factor for the Repsol rider today was strategy, the aim being to start tomorrow`s stage in a favourable position. Coma finished 1 minute 3 seconds behind the winner because a new regulation does not allow any ride to choose their starting position on Stage 1 according to the result in the prologue.

The Repsol rider took things calmly so as to get used to the conditiins in this Arab Emirate, riding at a comfortable speed so that other riders have to open up the tracks tomorrow.
The 44 participants in the motorbike category are facing five days of competition and over 1 500km of timed special sections in the largest of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. On Monday the riders leave the capital and head into the desert which will bring the first encounter with sand-dunes on a 281km stage that is not expected to be too difficult, but one where the strategies of the main rivals will become a little clearer.

This year the Desert Challenge has changed location and date, and in addition to not starting in Dubai, as it did last October, begins in the middle of March in the city of Abu Dhabi. But it is once again made up of five stages and Coma´s objective is none other than a victory. A triumph that got away from him five months ago after a breakdown on the fourth leg when he was clearly in the lead and well on the way to his third consecutive victory.

“This was a very short prologue but with no complications at all, we did in fact have a small sandstorm which always makes things a bit uncomfortable. This year some new rules have been introduced so the strategy was to take things calmly, I even stopped for a few seconds, so that I do not have to open up the tracks on the first stage.

Tomorrow we will have the first few real kilometres to enjoy, our first contact with sand-dunes, although in theory we are not expecting anything too difficult. Later we will get the chance to attack, for the time being we just have to wait and go calmly, and pick up the pace of the other riders. The main rivals will be Cyril Després, Pal Ullevalseter, and perhaps James West, who is from here and knows the zone quite well. We will start a bit off the lead and we are sure to come across some dust but being a race on sand does not mean that it will be a big complication” – said the Catalan rider.


Results:
1. Mohammed AL SHAMSI (HONDA) 2:05.87
2. Obaid ECHTIBI (HONDA) 2:10.30
3. Razvan PAUL IRIMESCU (YAMAHA) 2:10.90
4. Jakub PRZYGONSKI (KTM) 2:11.44
5. Rafal SONIK (HONDA) 2:12.56
42. Marc COMA (TEAM REPSOL KTM) 3:08.05


2009/03/22 | 19:00 CET | Editor: MR/Repsol/Rita Konya























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