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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: Nani Roma felt sick and will not start tomorrow.

The 2007 UAE Desert Challenge’s second full day of competition saw the Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Luc Alphand/Gilles Picard (France) overcome a transmission problem towards the end of today’s stage to hold on to 2nd place in the provisional standings. The Pajeroo Evolution MPR13 of Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cotteret (France) follows in 4th overall after the second-longest stage of the rally (328.30km), but the run of team-mates Joan ’Nani’ Roma/Lucas Cruz (Spain) was halted when the Spanish driver fell ill shortly after the start of today’s test.

"Luc’s excellent run hit trouble when he lost the use of third and fourth gears about 70km from the end of the stage. That was obviously a big disappointment, but he is still second overall and a gap of 7m 20s is nothing on an event like this," commented Team Director Dominique Serieys (France). "As I have already said, though, we mustn’t forget that we are above all here to prepare for the 2008 Dakar and Luc’s performance suggests that our package is still competitive despite the recent changes made to the technical regulations for petrol-engined cars. At the same time, however, his problem reveals that the time we were given to adapt to the mandatory switch from a six- to a five-speed gearbox - which was only announced in April - wasn’t at all comfortable for us, either technically or financially."

Luc Alphand spent the majority of the day in the virtual lead after easing past Nasser Attiyah soon after this morning’s early start. By Km245, he was nearly three minutes clear of the Qatari driver but then lost the use of both second and third gears and was forced to cover the final 70km of the long stage in first gear. "It’s a shame because we were going so well, although pulling out that sort of gap did mean taking a few risks since it was a very difficult and physically demanding stage," said the Frenchman. "It was practically all off-road today, including about 30km of particularly challenging dunes and our pace meant that we had a couple of encounters with the scenery, as the bodywork shows?Equot;

Stéphane Peterhansel posted the day’s fourth best time but suffered an early delay when he was forced to stop to change a wheel. "The route took us over a 3km portion where there was a lot of debris lying on the ground and I unfortunately picked up a rear-left puncture," reported the three-time UAE Desert Challenge winner. "Apart from that, I have to say my pace probably wasn’t quick enough to match today’s top times, but there were some pretty treacherous dunes and I preferred not to take too many risks. It’s a pity Luc didn’t have a trouble-free run all the way. He was the fastest driver out there today and that’s very reassuring concerning the potential of the latest-specification MPR13 in soft sand. That’s very positive"

Nani Roma’s week ended prematurely when the Spaniard was forced to throw in the towel after falling sick. It’s the second time he has been effected this way on the UAE Desert Challenge. "I’ve no idea why, but there’s clearly something about this event that doesn’t agree with me. Around 36km into the stage I started to vomit and then again; four times in total," he related after taking time to recover back at the bivouac. "We put it down to a food problem before, but it doesn’t appear to be that after all. It’s just a shame that I will now miss the opportunity to cover more than 1,000km competitively on this sort of terrain which would have been great for my experience."

"It’s obviously a pity to have lost Nani so early," added Team Director Dominique Serieys. "He’s not the only driver to suffer from the extreme heat this event throws at us and we have regrettably taken the decision that he will not re-start tomorrow."

2007/10/30 | 20:27 CET | Editor: MR/HS/MMSP

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