MEDIA BULLETIN 15
Issued at 13.00hrs - Thursday, April 6th
News/quotes – Leg 5
2. Sunderland (GBR) – ““It feels cool, it’s been a long time coming,” said Sunderland. “This is my home race. I made a good start and it’s been the perfect race for me. It started well but it’s been really hard. I knew that I had to push hard this morning to make up the time quickly and that the first section was important. The team has been great, the bike’s been fantastic and it’s a great way to follow up the win in Dakar.”
5. Renet (FRA) – “Really happy, fifth position. I am happy to improve from last year. I want to continue to take race after race.”
7. Al-Balooshi (ARE) – “Very happy to finish this rally. It was tough. All the respect to the guys who finish ahead of me. They are super athletes. It is their job. Not being on this bike for a year. I did not expect more than this. My progress was stopped. I could not have done this without my team at Ride to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and all my sponsors. Without them, this sport is difficult. They play a key role in our sport.”
9. Gonçalves (PRT) – “We finished the first race of the World Championship. With my place on the Prologue it was really hard to win the race. I finish fourth. If the race had been only four days, I had a chance to win. But the important thing is we had a good rhythm. Now we have Qatar in two weeks.”
103. Al-Musallam (KUW) – “I cannot quite believe it honestly. It feels like a dream. I guess I will wake up and realise this achievement. I was trying to chase Rodolfo (Schippers). The goal was to finish each stage and then to push. I caught some time early on and then we have the win. It’s a great feeling.”
111. Sonik (POL) – “We had bad luck on day one with the fuel. Yesterday my engine quit at 98km and I lost the rally. I was in the lead, but now I worked it out that it will be very difficult to win the World Championship, assuming there are tough competitors on each of the rounds. It’s got complicated now.”
202. Al-Qassimi – “I think this is the first win on an FIA World Cup round for an Emirati in 27 years. This event has been in the series for 25 years and this is also a first for an Emirati. I don’t want to be so greedy. I am still learning and for me every day is a learnng curve. This is only my fourth or fifth cross-country. I am pushing myself to a good level. The team itself, all of us, had a good effort. We had a lot of problems. We took stock after the drive shaft. That was a bad time. That’s why they call it cross-country. You keep pushing. It is good for myself and for Abu Dhabi. It’s an Abu Dhabi event. It is fantastic for everyone that we won this rally. It’s a big boost winning this rally. We are happy. I am not doing the Cross-Country championship. The reality is that we are leading now. Do we do another event?”
MEDIA BULLETIN 14
Issued at 14.10hrs - Wednesday, April 5th
News/quotes – Leg 4
7. Al-Balooshi (ARE) – “Today’s stage was 250km and by far the shortest and the weather helped all the riders. We don’t have navigation problems and I am happy with my performance and comfortable with the bike. It’s not an easy job. I did not ride this bike since one year ago in Sealine Rally in Qatar. One year not riding a rally bike. I feel better. We have one more day and I am looking at the bigger picture even though I would love to compete with the guys. With the situation I have given myself, I am giving 100%.”
201. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – “It was a good day for us. We don’t face any problems. Difficult dunes. It’s not really high speed and we try to take it easy without mistakes. We now have a big lead and we try to reach the finish for tomorrow.”
MEDIA BULLETIN 13
Issued at 12.45hrs - Wednesday, April 5th
News/quotes – Leg 4
4. Benavides - "Today I was going quite well and I felt comfortable. But some 50km after the refuelling, I had a problem with the clutch and I wasn’t able to continue. These are things that happen and it’s important to learn from them. Tomorrow I will be starting again and I plan to battle on until the end of the race."
204. Domzala – The FIA World Cup leader decided not to start the fourth stage in his Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux after ongoing motion sickness in the dunes.
111. Sonik - Stationery for a long time with technical issues after PC1 and appears to have lost his lead in the quads.
202. Al-Qassimi – stopped in the stage with a broken drive shaft before PC2 and lost second in the overall car standings.
1. Quintanilla (CHI) – “Today was a nice stage. We also have a good position to start tomorrow. That is good. We will see what happens.”
2. Sunderland (GBR) – “I don’t really like to race like this. The strategy and trying to see what the others guys are doing. I’d rather it just be the fastest rider won. I’ve lost this race so many years by being the fastest dude. This year I have been trying to get the strategy better. We will see how we go. It’s been cooler. I don’t feel as tired as I did over the last few days. We still have a very long day ahead of us. I will have to ride as hard as I can to catch the time back. It may look easy on the paper but it’s far from it. You have to fight a lot and work hard.”
6. Walkner (AUT) – “It was a nice stage. But if you try and push a lot in the beginning you take a lot of risk in the end for nothing. By km200 we were together and I don’t push so much. I try finding my rhythm. The race is like it is.”
5. Renet (FRA) – “Perhaps this is my second stage win. I start in fifth position. For sure, like every day it is better when you start behind. I catch them maybe 30km after the refuelling. I am really happy with the feeling, also the navigation is coming better and better every day. Like every day, it is a big advantage to start behind and not to open. I am not looking at the overall because, for me, it is impossible to win. I just want to make a good day like the other four.”
9. Gonçalves (PRT) – “Today I do what I can. I catch the guys in front of me, so I am the leader overall on day four. We have a day more to race. I will to do my best. I know it is not going to be an easy start position for tomorrow. We have 220km still to go. The bike has been perfect. The stage is a little more fast tomorrow than the last three days, but we also have a lot of dunes in the middle. In normal conditions the others have an advantage. We never know.”
MEDIA BULLETIN 12
Issued at 14.05hrs - Tuesday, April 4th
News/quotes – Leg 3
201. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – “Today, the same. The car is working very well - a perfect stage for us. There is no advantage to coming here before. This is the desert. It is always changing. Saying that, it was much cooler today in the car. We do not have air conditioning. We saw 51 degrees yesterday. Today was better and it also gives more performance from the car. Two days to go, but we will drive at the same pace. It’s a good pace.”
111. Sonik (POL) - “We have had some problems and delays on the rally and it was nice to have a good stage and a clean run.”
202. Al-Qassimi (ARE) – “It was not easy terrain and the organisers told me to go a certain way and we got stuck over there. We did not lose much time and deflated the tyres. It was difficult because the cap was showing to a different position. But we could not go back. It was very difficult to drive in that area. We lost some time until we found the route. After passing the bivouac we made a mistake when we took a different line and we drove inside the fence. We made another mistake about 50km from the end. It was windy and we went off the piste that you could see. You could not see the track and we tried to find a better way. We are still second overall today and for the rally. The most important thing for me is to gain the experience and the mileage and to benefit more and more.”
MEDIA BULLETIN 11
Issued at 12.15hrs - Tuesday, April 4th
News/quotes – Leg 3
4. Benavides (ARG) – stopped with mechanical issues between PC2 and PC3, awaiting collection by the sweep team.
225. Barker (GBR) – the crew have pulled out of the stage at Moreeb when Ian Barker’s wife Sheila became unwell with motion sickness.
1. Quintanilla (CHI) – “I try to get some time. It was a fine stage to ride and I enjoy a lot. I am happy to be past half of the race. We will see.”
2. Sunderland (GBR) – “It was a good day. I started back in sixth and I caught all the guys before the refuel, which I was really happy about. At the start I couldn’t see everyone after the start and I started to feel a little nervous so see whether I was catching them or not. You don’t know. I got to the refuel and I saw them just before me. After that it was good and I kind of cruised back. It was a bit windy out there. It all looks the same. There are thousands of dunes. You recognise landmarks from before and bits and pieces, but it gives you no advantage because every dune is different. I feel happy. I felt fast this morning.”
6. Walkner (AUT) – “It is like it is with these set of rules (speeding penalty). Every day we arrive in a group. It looks like whoever wins the first day will win the rally. There are still two more long days to go. It is too difficult, I think, to take any risks. It’s too dangerous if you go in front. The level is too high for this. The others will catch you. The feeling is getting better and better inside. I enjoy a lot.”
5. Renet (FRA) – “It’s not easy to open, to see the lines is really better when you are behind. With my day, they catch me after 140 or 150km. Afterwards, I was sometimes still opening. I am really happy, but today was a good day.”
9. Goncalves (PRT) – “Today was an easier day. If we compare with the other two last days. We have, I think, 15 degrees less than the two first days. Today was important. Before it was 100% off-piste with the dunes. I arrive well without any problems. The guys who start behind me catch me. So, tomorrow, I will try to have my turn to get some time from them. Let’s see what happens at the end of the rally. I am happy with the bike, so we keep fighting to show the fans the stages here in Abu Dhabi.”
MEDIA BULLETIN 10
Issued at 10.15hrs - Tuesday, April 4th
News – Leg 3
Melot (20), Zatko (25), Aglioni (24), Solokha (106), Baizhiyenov (109), Al-Falaisi (22), Garrouste (239), Boyter (76), Al-Mannai (231) and Vladimir Vasilyev (203) did not start the stage. It appears the Russian aggravated a back injury at the end of the stage and has retired to return to Russia to receive medical attention.
Schott (210) rolled his Mini All4 Racing at the Moreeb dune. The car was on its roof before WP309. The crew were not hurt and the sweep car was at the scene.
MEDIA BULLETIN 9
Issued at 17.05hrs - Monday, April 3rd
News – Leg 2
6. Walkner (AUT) - Walkner has been awarded a one-minute time penalty by race officials and that means that the Austrian loses the overnight lead to Honda's Goncalves. The Portuguese leads the rally by 27.8 seconds.
MEDIA BULLETIN 8
Issued at 15.05hrs - Monday, April 3rd
Quotes/News – Leg 2
201. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – “Today was a good day for us. It was not an easy stage. The stage is called Nissan. It is very difficult and hard. We just need to take care. To win by a big gap and have a big lead from Al-Qassimi is good.”
239. Garrouste (FRA) – Rolled the Polaris RZR 1000 early in the stage. The crew were unhurt and were recovered by the sweep team.
216. Al-Jafla (ARE) – had a heavy impact with the Chevrolet after 218km. The car was damaged and the crew were recovered by the sweep team.
24. Aglioni (ITA) and 25. Zatxo (SVK) are to be airlifted out of the stage with suspected dehydration.
Before PC3, Liparoti (101) attempted to flag down a car to give her water when she was stuck in the sand dunes. Vasilyev (203) took a separate line to avoid the Italian and got stuck in the dune for a long time.
205. Zapletal. Stuck after PC3 in the dunes.
MEDIA BULLETIN 7
Issued at 12.15hrs - Monday, April 3rd
News – Leg 2
2. Sunderland (GBR) – “You always lose time when you start in front. I opened all the way for 300km and only Pablo and Matthias physically caught me. Of all the riders here, that meant it was a good day. This race is strange with the strategy, you know. You kind of swap times each day. Tomorrow I start back and it will be the opposite. You just have to take each day as it comes. It’s been really hot the past few days and it’s really unpredictable out there. The bike is good. I am happy. The team have done a great job.”
1.Quintanilla (CHI) – “It’s always difficult to start in front. From the beginning I did not want to lose too much time. Tomorrow we start behind so we try and can catch some time. It is difficult to go fast when you at the front. When you are behind you have the tracks and the dust.”
5. Renet (FRA) – “Yes, really happy. Today I start five, so it’s easier for me because I have the line and the tracks. It’s good to have a win at this rally. The heat is really high and, with the sun, you do not see so easy. I guess it is the same for everyone.”
6. Walker (AUT) – surprised to learn he was leading. “I did not know that. Saying that, tomorrow they take the gap back. Hopefully I can finish on the podium. Tomorrow the guys will take three or six minutes and the lead is changing again. It has been a good two days and I feel more confident riding in the dunes. I get into it and I enjoyed it.”
9. Goncalves (PRT) – “Really interesting stage and really hot and difficult. In the dunes I was pushing very hard and I could catch the guys in front of me before the refuelling. But, before 60-70km from the end, I hit a dune and I stay there and I cannot breathe. I stayed there for one or two minutes and then I restart. Tomorrow is another day with all the hard conditions with the weather and the temperature.”
4. Benavides (ARG) – “Today was good. I feel better than yesterday. My speed also is better. I had more pace. After refuelling my hand started to feel better. So I am happy.”
MEDIA BULLETIN 6
Issued at 12.15hrs - Monday, April 3rd
News – Leg 2
111. Sonik (POL) – Lost just under an hour after PC2 on the first stage after suffering fuel problems following the refuel.
211. Abdulla (QAT) – stopped to assist at the scene of the accident involving Andrey Chipenko on Sunday and the time was returned to him at the end of the day. He restarted in T2 in fourth place.
22. Al-Falaisi (ARE) – retired his Honda with mechanical issues and was awaiting collection by the sweep truck.
116. Hernandez Ponce (PER) - was stationary for a long time with technical troubles and reached PC1 a long way behind the rest of the riders.
115. Innocente (ARG) – was collected by the sweep team after technical troubles and may well be a retirement.
MEDIA BULLETIN 5
Issued at 16.15hrs - Sunday, April 3rd
Quotes – Leg 1
116. Hernandez Ponce (PER) – Stuck in soft sand in a sand hole one kilometre from the finish and he lost one hour with a broken battery.
224. Amos (ITA) – The first time he drove the Buggy in the sand. “It was easy for me to go fast on the track, but in the sand I need to find the technique and the rhythm.”
6. Walkner (AUT) – “It was not a bad speed, but I was stuck two times. The sand was sometimes hard and then soft. It was hard to read. It was hard to catch the others after this.”
8. Meo (FRA) – “I was tired when I arrived. I am not dehydrated. But I am too hot and do not have the speed.
7. Al-Balooshi (ARE) – “Too many camels and very soft sand.”
111. Sonik (POL) – Stopped after PC3 with technical issues.
204. Domzala (POL) – suffered sickness in the dunes from the heat.
MEDIA BULLETIN 4
Issued at 14.45hrs - Sunday, April 3rd
Quotes – Leg 1 (Cars)
201. Al-Attiyah (QAT) – “Today was not easy, but we had a good start position – sixth. We push very hard in the first 70km and pass everybody just to make the gap big. We don’t have any problems. Everything is working very well. Our Toyota is good. It was very hot. Inside the cabin it was 52 (Centigrade). We try and drink water and some energy liquid. Now we see for the next day.”
MEDIA BULLETIN 3
Issued at 14.20hrs - Sunday, April 3rd
Quotes – Leg 1 (Bikes)
1.Quintanilla (CHI) – “It was a really difficult stage. I came from behind with Sam. I rode really fast and I was leading for a time. But it was a good stage. It was important to come back strongly from my crash on the Dakar and get my confidence again.”
2. Sunderland (GBR) – “It was good to win the stage yesterday because this race is quite strategic. It was a heavy day, really tough, and we had to push a lot. To start last and finish first was not easy. The deserts are really unpredictable out there. The rain of the past weeks, I lost the front in the sand, in the soft dunes, braking a few times. This caused a bit of stress. But the bike is working good. I will take each day as it comes. Obviously starting first tomorrow, I will lose time. But we will see.
4. Benavides (ARG) – “It was tough, but I feel so happy now. The stage was very difficult. You were in the dunes and needed to concentrate. It was so hot – 41 degrees today in the dunes. It was a good first stage for me. The hand has a little pain now, but it is okay.”
9. Goncalves (PRT) – “For sure, it was a better day for me than I expected. I have a lot of fast riders start behind me and normally they catch me, but only three of them did today. Tomorrow I have a good position to try and get some time to them. Let’s see. There is a long race in front. Four days more on these amazing, beautiful deserts. I try to be competitive and also to enjoy.”
MEDIA BULLETIN 2
Issued at 13.05hrs - Sunday, April 2nd
News – Leg 1
The first riders ran the stage slightly later and slower than planned because the front-runners had opted to begin at the back of the field and the slower riders took centre stage early on.
76. Boyter (GBR) – retired after a small crash before PC1. Rider was not seriously hurt, but took the sensible option to withdraw.
22. Al-Falaisi (ARE) – stopped with mechanical issues before PC1 and lost a lot of time.
106. Solokha (KAZ) - retired at PC1 with mechanical issues.
26. Seminara (ITA) – stopped with what appear to be terminal mechanical problems.
226. Abykayev (KAZ) – the Kazakh crashed heavily early in the stage and the medical helicopter was summoned. Marat's co-driver Andrey Chipenko was airlifted to Madinat Zayed hospital with a head injury. He was conscious and in a stable condition.
MEDIA BULLETIN 1
Issued at 16.00hrs - Saturday, April 1st (Al-Forsan stage)
Leading cars were flagged away from the start at the Al-Forsan International Resort by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and Chairman of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, and event founder and ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.