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This is the single-news section of the 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 second on first stage.

This morning saw the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the opening round of the World Cross Country Championship, and the Repsol rider Marc Coma finished in second position, 41 seconds behind the stage winner, Cyril Despres. Today`s special, 281 kilometres long, was between the capital of the Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, and Moreeb the main base for the rally. The participants start and finish the next three stages from here before returning to the north of the country and the capital.

This stage was more or less a formality, taking the riders to their first encounter with sand-dunes tomorrow, this means navigation and rider skills will come to the fore over the next three days.

The strategy adopted for the prologue stage was one of calm, and Coma finished down the field in 42nd place but this allowed him to start today`s special in a reasonable position. He was third to last out but the Repsol rider overtook a large number of the participants without going at too high a pace, this meant that he was able to end the day in second place, less than one minute behind the winner. For the last few days a small sandstorm has been in the vicinity, this has helped overtaking as the wind takes away any dust lifted by the bikes in front.

Tomorrow sees the first of the three loops that start and finish at the bivouac in Moreeb, and the first “serious” stage, 296km of them against the clock.

“As was expected this stage was our first contact with the desert, where we have started to encounter the first off-road tracks and even sand-dunes and some navigation. Apart from that there were no complications.

The special was quite fast at the beginning along the tracks that go out from Abu Dhabi towards the south. Then, little by little, we found more and more sand, as we were getting closer to the desert, and then we crossed a zone that was a little more technical and complicated. We are still using the same tyres that we had for the Dakar, but here as we have stages on sand these are not the type of conditions that make them suffer too much, and we have had no problems,”
said Marc Coma after the stage.


1. Cyril DESPRES (KTM) 2:51.47
2. Marc COMA (TEAM REPSOL KTM) 2:52.28
3. Pal ULLEVALSETER (KTM) 2:59.03
4. David MCBRIDE (HONDA) 3:06.48
5. Jacek CZACHOR (KTM) 3:11.13

2009/03/25 | 22:55 CET | Editor: MR/Repsol/Rita Konya

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