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Por las Pampas 2007 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the Por las Pampas Patagonia Atacama Rally 2007, 3rd round of the FIA Worldcup for Cross Country Rallys. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Por las Pampas: Marc Coma and Luc Alphand win the longest leg

After the cancellation of the special on Tuesday, the competition for motorbikes commenced with the longest leg of this year`s Rally Pampas, but this was the second timed leg for the car category. The riders and drivers faced an itinerary of over 700km, with almost 440km on timed specials, something tough enough for the Rally Lisbon-Dakar but too much for a date in the World Championship.

The route designed by the organisers was on tracks that followed the coast, where navigating between the dunes, with their diffícult GPS control points, played a decisive role.

In these conditions Marc Coma won and after setting the pace the whole day, so has taken the lead in the Rally Patagonia Atacama 2007 from the very start. The Repsol rider won the leg that went from Valdivia to Concepción, with a time of 6 hours 7 minutes and 4 seconds, more than 11 minutes ahead of "Chaleco" López and David Casteu. Jordi Viladoms, who has returned to competition riding after being injured in this year`s Dakar, finished in 5th position, 23 minutes behind his teammate.

The day saw a considerable improvement in the weather and in the car category the Repsol driver Luc Alphand once again set the pace and so stays at the top of the leaderboard. The demands of passing long sections of narrow, twisty, wooded tracks through mud kept the participants and the convoy on their toes and moreover the weather was much kinder than on the first day.

After this marathon leg the participants have to cover almost 500km tomorrow, 376km of them timed. One of the most complicated legs of this rally lies in wait for them, and navigation will play a crucial role again. Those that can adapt their pace to the constantly changing surfaces and the numerous changes in direction, will have a chance to open up a gap at the top of the leaderboard.

Luc Alphand: "It has been another long leg, but what a day we have had. The route and countryside were fantastic and the drive was a challenge but great fun. You had to be totally concentrated from the start to the finish, through forests with big eucalyptus trees and then another long section on the beach with 4m high waves rolling in from the Pacific. It must have been high tide because there was not much space for the cars in some places. In fact there was a deep estuary that we had to cross, and it must have been 40m wide. That was quite hair-raising but the car got through without any problems and we have been able to increase our lead. That gives us a lot of protection as we enter the third leg which is almost as long as today`s and apparently just as complicated as what we have seen so far."

2007/08/31 | 11:05 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Repsol

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