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UAE Desert Challenge 2007 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the UAE Desert Challenge 2007, last 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.

UAE Desert Challenge: Al-Attiyah extends lead after 2nd stage

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah extended his lead in the UAE Desert Challenge today as the 328-km Nakheel Special Stage 2 claimed a trail of casualties in the blazing Empty Quarter. By the end of the day Al-Attiyah, partnered by Swedish lady co-driver Tina Thörner in a BMW X3, had opened up a 7 mins 20 seconds advantage over the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution of defending champion Luc Alphand of France.

In third place was two-times former World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz of Spain in a Volkswagen Race Touareg, followed by three-times Desert Challenge winner Stéphane Peterhansel of France in another Mitsubishi. South African Giniel de Villiers in another VW Race Touareg and French driver Guerlain Chicherit at the wheel of a BMW X3 completed the top six.

In the battle of the bikes, last year’s winner and the defending world champion Marc Coma of Spain had his overnight lead slashed to 1 min 18 secs by the four times winner in the UAE, French star Cyril Despres. But the winner on the day was UAE-based British rider James West who was fastest on the Nakheel stage and moved into third place overall.

Among the casualties on the day was Spanish driver Joan "Nani" Roma who announced he was retiring from the rally because of severe stomach illness when he returned to the bivouac in his Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution after completing just 70km of the stage.

Roma said: “It’s just like what happened to me here two years ago. I don’t know exactly what the problem is. Maybe it was something I ate. I have only felt ill during the race. Maybe it’s the dunes which upset my stomach, but I’ve never had a problem like this on any other rally.”

Al Attiyah finished the Nakheel stage to say: “It was very difficult and there were lots of sharp dunes and there was a lot of danger on the course. I am just thankful for my co-driver. I was following Luc (Alphand) for a long way. We saw an opportunity to overtake him and we took it.”

Alphand said: “We were in front of Nasser and taking some risks and we were going really well. But we had a problem and lost a few gears. We will hopefully fix this and we will be pushing hard tomorrow.”

South African challenger de Villiers had a “frustrating” day. He said: “We got stuck at one point and we had to go back and try again. Then a wheel fell off and we had to change it. This means that tomorrow we have to go out hard but without making any mistakes.”

Peterhansel, who won the Desert Challenge as a rider before switching from bikes to cars, said: “It was the first long day and a lot of it was in the dunes. I was judging my position at the checkpoints and I knew that Luc was going faster. But this is not the race for me to take risks.”

The day was particularly tough on the riders, with a succession of them suffering accidents and dehydration and requiring helicopter evacuation to hospital and the bivouac medical centre.

Talented Spanish rider Jordi Viladoms injured his chest and back in an accident and was taken to Al Rahba Hospital in Abu Dhabi, Canadian John King injured his left arm and dislocated his shoulder in a fall and British rider Paul Denby broke his left leg and both wrists in another crash.

Nakheel stage winner West said: “It was very, very hard. There were lots of fallers. I tried to do just enough to hang on to the leaders but I’m over the moon that I won the stage. I just hope I can continue.”

Tomorrow’s (Wednesday) action sees the competitors tackle the 277-km Nissan Special Stage 3.

Provisional leading positions after Nakheel Special Stage 2


1. Nasser Al Attiyah / Tina Thoerner / QA / S / BMW X3 / T1 6:55:49

2. Luc Alphand / Gilles Picard / F / F / Mitsubishi Pajero EVO / T1 7:03:09

3. Carlos Sainz / Michel Perin / E / F / Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 / T1 7:05:00

4. Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret / F / F / Mitsubishi Pajero EVO / T1 7:07:21

5. Giniel de Villiers / Dirk Von Zitzewitz / ZA / D / VW Race Touareg 2 / T1 7:18:11

6. Guerlain Chicherit / Matthieu Baumel / F / F / BMW X3 / T1 8:21:05

7. Glen Reid / Mike Sketchley / NZ / NZ / Nissan Patrol / T2 8:22:46

8. Yahya Alhelei / Khalid Alkendi / UAE / UAE /Chevrolet Colorado /T1 8:27:53

9. Leonid Novitskiy / Oleg Tyupenkin / RUS / RUS / Mitsubishi MPR 96 / T1 9:13:08

10. V.Chagin / S.Yakubov / E.Nikolaev / RUS/RUS/RUS / KAMAZ 4911/ T4 9:18:04


1. Marc Coma (E) KTM 690 M3 7:52:21

2. Cyril Despres (F) KTM 690 M3 7:53:39

3. James West (GB) Honda CRF 450 X 8:06:37

4. Francisco Lopez (CHI) KTM 690 8:21:45

5. Jean Azevedo (BR) KTM 690 M3 8:23:44

6. Ruben Faria (P) KTM 690 M1 8:24:38

7. Steve Blackney (GB) Honda XR 650 RM2 8:25:42

8. Michael Angerer (A) KTM 690 M1 8:27:50

9. Sebastian Husseini (NL)SuzukiLTR 450 Quadracer M4 8:28:32

10. Sean Linton (GB) Honda CRF 450 X 8:33:00

2007/10/30 | 16:57 CET | Editor: MR/UAE DC/Rita Konya

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