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UAE Desert Challenge 2008 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)

This is the single-news section of the special of the UAE Desert Challenge 2008, 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: Coma moves into the lead, Farres retires after fall

The second stage of the UAE Desert Challenge 2008 showed its more difficult side to this year`s participants. Marc Coma, third today, was able to recover the time he lost to Cyril Despres and so become the race leader. But Gerard Farrés who yesterday had a great start was unlucky as he fell at kilometre 18, at a dangerous point that was not marked in the roadbook and he was forced to retire with a fracture on his left forearm.

The Repsol rider was found by his teammate Jordi Viladoms who had started two minutes behind him, and he was taken by helicopter to hospital where the injury has been confirmed.

The 296 kilometre stage took place entirely in the desert, although on a terrain that was very different to the one that everybody expected. Instead of the typical dunes seen other years the Repsol riders tackled an off-road zone in a very flat part of the desert. Most of the stage was in an area of small slopes; a sea of sand in the completely open desert that didn't allow the riders to see the terrain correctly, making the ride a much more demanding and tiring task. As it was off the tracks the roadbook didn't indicate all the dangers that there were on the road, and in these circumstances the demands on the riders was much greater. Tomorrow sees the third stage, the longest this year, with another loop of 340km in the zone of Moreeb.

Marc Coma: “This was a stage with a lot of off-track zones, very tiring mentally. You could not see the relief very clearly and you had to ride very carefully since you could easily find a cut dune and other dangers without any markings or warnings.

I caught Cyril [Despres] and we kept up a normal pace. I got the two minutes back from him but there are another two riders that have been classified between us and we will see what happens tomorrow. It will be an important day as it is the longest stage.”

Jordi Viladoms: “I am quite tired because the stage today seemed very long to me. I caught Gerard [Farrés] at kilometre 18, and I was with him until the helicopter took him away, because it looked like he had broken his wrist. After half an hour he was picked up and I started up again behind the other riders.

I caught some of them up and got a good pace bit by bit but it was tough because after seeing what happened to Gerard, he was unlucky falling and getting injured, it is difficult to concentrate. I was alone the whole time overtaking other riders and it seemed very long to me. I hope he gets well soon and I wish him all the best from here. This is another example of how much you need to concentrate in a race at this level because there are many dangers that you cannot see.”

Gerard Farrés: “This is a shame because if you do things badly you know what can happen. But it is clear that here I was riding carefully and I simply fell in a crater that was not marked, off the tracks thay do not always show every danger there is.

I was unlucky because the crtater was in a place that was very difficult to see, this is what Jordi [Viladoms] told me when he saw me. I had lifted the front wheel but I hit it with the rear and I was thrown off the bike. I was unconscious for a short time, until he arrived and woke me. Luckily it is a clean fracture and no operation is needed, but we will see what exactly I have when we get to Barcelona.”

2008/10/29 | 02:07 CET | Editor: MR/Repsol/Rita Konya

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