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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: Peterhansel wins Rally, Sainz the Worldcup

French star Stéphane Peterhansel recorded his fourth win in the UAE Desert Challenge in his Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution today while Spain’s Carlos Sainz clinched the drivers title in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. The final leg of the spectacular 2,210km event also saw another Spaniard, Marc Coma, retain his bikes title to underline his domination of this year’s FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship. But there was heartbreak for Qatar’s dashing Nasser Al-Attiyah, who had looked set to leap above Sainz into second place overall before electrical failure shattered his challenge in a BMW X3 20kms from the end of the final Emarat Special Stage 6.

Sainz’s Volkswagen team-mate, South African Giniel de Villiers, finished third overall, with Russian Leonid Novitskiy in a Mitsubishi MPR 96, UAE’s Yahya Alhelei and Frenchman Nicolas Gibon in a Toyota Land Cruiser completing the top six. Finishing eighth overall in his factory Kamaz, Rustam Minnikhanov, Prime Minister of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, won the trucks title for the fifth time in six years. Tenth overall in the bikes category, flying Dutchman Sebastian Husseini won the quads crown.

In the FIA World Cup manufacturers championship, holders Mitsubishi finished tied in a dead heat with Volkswagen who immediately claimed the title on a points countback, although that has yet to be verified by the FIA.

On a dramatic final day, Spain’s Jose Luis Monterde suffered a spectacular exit on the Emarat Special Stage when his Schlesser Buggy was wrecked by a high-speed roll, front end over end. Suffering from minor head and hand injuries, Monterde, along with his co-driver, was evacuated by helicopter to Tawam Hospital in Al Ain as a precaution.

Celebrating victory at the finish at Dubai International Marine Club with co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret, Peterhansel said: "I always tried the steady approach and I think it was a good strategy. I wanted to try and win without taking any risks before the Dakar. I was not fast enough compared to Carlos and Luc in the first few days but it’s paid off because both Carlos and Luc made mistakes."

Sainz, who was World Rally Champion in 1990 and 1992, said: "It’s good to win the World Cup. It’s important for me and this rally is good practice for the Dakar." Thrilled to retain his FIM world title, Marc Coma said: "The race wasn’t easy. It was good to have such a close fight between myself, Cyril and Pal. I just started out to try and catch Cyril today and then when I was in front I had to concentrate hard because one mistake would spoil everything."

Cyril Despres, a four-times Desert Challenge winner, said: "I didn’t come here looking for second place, but it was my first desert ride since the Dakar last year. Tonight I leave for the Baja in Mexico, so now I have to concentrate on that." Ullevalseter, like Despres a former world champion, said: "It didn’t feel so hot today. I’m very happy with the way the bike performed this race. So it was a successful test for me."

Luc Alphand’s spectacular crash on the previous day’s ADNOC Special Stage 4 had ensured that Sainz would win the drivers title in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, but the manufacturers’ title was still very much up for grabs.

As the penultimate Hertz Special Staged 5 got under way this morning. Volkswagen knew that if Sainz held on to second place overall behind Peterhansel, they would finish in a tie with Mitsubishi in the manufacturers’ championship.

Al Attiyah made it clear that he was determined to dominate the last day of the rally, winning the Hertz Special Stage and then closing in on Sainz and second place overall in the early part of the final Emarat Special Stage 6 before disaster struck.

Meanwhile Coma, already assured of being FIM Cross Country Rallies World Champion again in Dubai, gradually extended his lead over Despres. On the previous day’s ADNOC Special Stage, Despres had reduced Coma’s overall lead from 5 mins 26 secs to just 1 min 28 secs, suggesting that the battle for supremacy in the UAE deserts was not over, but the Spaniard pulled away again to win by 5 mins 6 secs.

2007/11/02 | 13:57 CET | Editor: MR/HS/UAEDC

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