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Media bulletin No.26 / 1420hrs / 31st October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents after Emarat SS6

206 Andrew Bowler (GB)
“Compared to the leafy lanes of England, this is definitely a big, big challenge. We really enjoyed it, especially the big, big dunes, while the little bumpy ones were horrible. Despite the very high temperatures we will definitely be back.”

219 Fady Melki (UAE)
“We’ve made it! Today was very fast. Not much skill for the driver but the stages needed good navigational ability. It’s a top event.”

220 Ali Al Shawi (UAE) “It was a very good event. Day three was our worst day. We lost three hours, and several places, getting stuck, but that’s rallying isn’t it?”

240 Abdul Bari Bin Souqat (UAE)
“A perfect event. The organisation was excellent and Mohammed Ben Sulayem put all his efforts into making it run smoothly. I must also thank my co-driver for getting me the best lines to race along.”

Media bulletin No.25 / 1340hrs / 31st October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents after Emarat SS6

205 Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)
“Today’s first stage was very fast and at times the terrain was dangerous so we took it more slowly, and the second stage was very technical, with the last 5km was very painful because of all the bumps. We are really pleased to have finished because our target was to get second place in the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.”

“The rally has been excellent and we learnt that in order to be more competitive in the future we need to change our engine to diesel. Then we’ll have a better chance against the likes of BMW.”

204 Yahya Alhelei (UAE)
“I’m really, really happy to finish in this position. It’s been a hard rally, one which you need experience to cover the stages. I hope to win next year, and I’m looking for a sponsor who will care and support local drivers.”

“There are a lot of companies that come here and make a lot of money, and it would be nice for them to support this sport. Experience is more important in the Desert Challenge than expensive factory cars, so I’m pleased to have passed so many other drivers.”

“I’m very happy for Nasser to win this event.

Media bulletin No.24 / 1255hrs / 31st October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents after Emarat SS6

201 Nasser Al Attiyah (QA) “Fantastic, I’m really happy. This week has gone very well. We have tried various set-ups with the car which have worked well, and the tyres we selected have been very good.

“It was a shame the other works teams decided to go to Morocco for testing, it would have been exciting and closer competition with them here.

“Taking part in the Desert Challenge has for us been the testing ground for the car.”

Media bulletin No.23 / 1215hrs / 31st October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents after Emarat SS6

1. Marc Coma (E)
“I’m happy to be back on the bike after yesterday’s mechanical problems. As for the rally it’s been good to build up confidence on this type of terrain and we have not done much racing on sand this year. Yesterday was a very big disappointment, but when we have no problems we are a big fighting team. The rally is really, really, good and the people are very nice.”

18. Tim Trenker (D)
“Navigation was challenging today, mostly roadbook not GPS, and I got lost towards the end. I ended up driving through camel grass so it was more like moto cross. Overall I’m feeling really happy but it was difficult at times following my big crash early on.”

Media bulletin No.22 / 1205hrs / 31st October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents after Emarat SS6

2. Cyril Despres (F)
“It’s really amazing. I am really, really happy. Today was very fast and I didn’t push myself to hard because I didn’t want any problems. This is definitely the best rally, especially with all the support and the reassurance of the rescue teams.”

“They may have moved the Dakar to another country, but please do not move the Desert Challenge, because it is so unique.”

6. Francisco Lopez (RCH)
“Today’s start was very fast. There were a few dunes which slowed us down. Navigation was difficult and I’ve probably lost ten minutes, but I’m really happy with the result and to get a podium finish.”

19. Alain Duclos (F)
“Today was really fast, with the navigation being quite challenging. It’s my first Desert Challenge which is an amazing event and it’s been a really amazing experience. I am very happy with my finishing position. I hope to be back next year and have been very happy to be here and discover this country.”

Media bulletin No.21 / 1140hrs / 31st October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents from Hertz SS5

Bike 36 David McBride (IRL)
The overnight leader in the 450cc class went out of the rally with a blown engine 82kms into the Hertz SS5.

McBride, who was transported out of the stage by the sweep team, said: “I was having fun, everything was fine, and all of a sudden the engine just popped and that was the end of that. I’d had no problems up until then.”

Car 212 Richard Hayward (GB)
Driver suffered back pain after a heavy landing on the stage. He was assessed by doctors and evacuated by helicopter out of the stage as a precaution but the injury was found to be not serious.

Media bulletin No.20 / 1425hrs / 30th October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents from ADNOC SS4

221 Abdulla Alheraiz (UAE)
“Bad, very bad. I got stuck big time. It cost us one hour.”

237 Ian A. Barker (UAE)
“A brilliant day. I think we’ve had a special helping hand getting us out when I made a couple of mistakes. Not a single problem with the car, and we passed so many other cars and in one dune I got out by reversing up a slope to the amazement of the spectators.”

240 Abdul Bari Bin Souqat (UAE) “It was very good today, apart from an electrical problem which made us stop three times, losing about 25 minutes. We also gave a rider a tow because he was exhausted.”

Media bulletin No.19 / 1355hrs / 30th October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents from ADNOC SS4


32. Ruben Faria (P)

Injured in an accident 30kms before PC3. Reached the PC and was assessed by doctors for a possible spinal injury. He was then evacuated by helicopter to Medinat Zayed Hospital where an X-ray revealed he has a broken in his back.


206 Andrew Bowler (GB)
“I really enjoyed today, especially bit with the big dunes, they were incredible and quite a challenge.”

215 Glen Reid (UAE)

“The first section was good then we lost the clutch in the second section and also broke an engine mount. So we stayed in second gear and went slowly over the dunes and we also got stuck. Tomorrow we’ll be ok because we don’t need a clutch.”

222 Ali Matar (UAE)
“It was faster today and not as tough as yesterday. We had a little problem with the fuel pump which delayed us a bit but all in all it was very good.”

Media bulletin No.18 / 1255hrs / 30th October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents from ADNOC SS4

205 Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)

“The first part was really clear and we took it gently so the car was safe for the next stage. We didn’t want to risk the car. And good news, I seem to have got over my sea sickness which I had in the early days of the rally from driving over the big dunes.”

204 Yahya Alhelei (UAE)
“It’s been a very good day, apart from a little problem with the exhaust which he had to stop and fix. At that time we almost got hit by one of the big trucks which was going very fast, but later we passed it because it was stuck at the bottom of a big sand dune with a broken axle. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and the final leg of what’s been a good rally.”

Media bulletin No.17 / 1155hrs / 30th October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents from ADNOC SS4


201 Nasser Al Attiyah (QA)

“That was quite good. The stage was a bit fast with some difficult new sections - difficult because of soft dunes. I pushed it hard in the first section to try out some new settings of the suspension, and tomorrow we’ll make some more adjustments to the suspension to get it ready for Argentina.”


83. Mohammed Al Shamsi (UAE)
“Sixty per cent of the stage was good for me as I was able to catch the bikes on the dunes but on the flat they are faster and leave me behind. Overall it was an excellent stage and I enjoyed it.”

25. Giambattista Margagliotti (I)
After his bike caught fire just six kilometres into the stage, he came to the rescue of 27. Michael Luda (D) who had tired quickly and was unable to continue.

Margagliotti volunteered to ride Luda’s bike out of the stage but then got stuck behind 240 Abdul Bari Bin Souqat (UAE) in a bowl. Margagliotti was then towed out of the bowl by Bin Souqat.

Media bulletin No.16 / 1055hrs / 30th October, 2008

Rider comments after ADNOC SS4

2. Cyril Despres (F)

“It was a nice stage, better than yesterday. I must say this rally is really tough this year. There has been no chance to relax. I’ve just seen Marc Coma with a broken clutch 15kms back, which is a big shame.”

3. James West (GB)
“It was really tough, with lots of small, winding sand dunes and I had problems turning this big bike compared to the smaller big bike I’m used to. It’s hats off to these guys in front.

6. Francisco Lopez (RCH)
“Very hard sand. I’m very happy. I’ve had no scratches. It was a good day today.”

1. Marc Coma (E)
Returned to the end of the stage on the back of service bike. “I had gearbox problems 15km back from the finish so my race is over. This rally is really nice and I would really like to be able to ride on the final day. As for the lack of power, we’ll have to open the engine to see what the problem was.”

Media bulletin No.15 / 1625hrs / 29th October, 2008

Competitor comments and incidents from Nissan SS3


41. Mark Ackermann (ZAF)
After breaking down on the stage was stranded for almost three hours when a sweep vehicle dispatched to collect him also broke down.

A helicopter was then dispatched to locate and bring him back to the bivouac where his wife Cindy, and three-year-old daughter, Kayla, were waiting to meet him.


217 Bruce Garland (AUS) “After seven and a half hours of that, I can’t think of a more demanding job. To make it worse, we lost about 15 minutes by getting stuck just a few kilometres from the finish.”

206 Andrew Bowler (GB) “I wish I had seen green, leafy lanes today. The first part was tough, the middle part was good with long sweeping dunes, and the last part with small bumpy dunes really got the heart going.”

Media bulletin No.14 / 1440hrs / 29th October, 2008

Driver comments after Nissan SS3

204 Yahya Alhelei (UAE)
“It was a nice stage but we had a major problem at 50km with the shock absorbers breaking. We travelled almost 300km without the shock absorbers so we had to keep our speed reduced. At one point we had to let a Kamaz truck go by. But I’m happy with our position.”

Media bulletin No.13 / 1320hrs / 29th October, 2008

Driver comments after Nissan SS3

201 Nasser Al Attiyah (QA)“Today was good but in the last 30km we did get stuck in the dunes and had to get the sand plate out. We lost a couple of minutes.”

Media bulletin No.12 / 1305hrs / 29th October, 2008

Rider comments after Nissan SS3

12. Jordi Viladoms (E) “We rode most of the way as one big group which was fun, and with the pushing and jostling for position it was more like moto cross. I might be tired now but it was fun.”

18. Tim Trenker (D)
“Today was awesome, riding in a big group. I did most of the navigation and after yesterday’s big fall I am sore. Over the last 50km I couldn’t stand because my legs were hurting.”

83. Mohammed Al Shamsi (UAE)
“Excellent weather today with good visibility meaning I could see everything in front of me. The bike is running well, but a little slow on the fast sections because of the weight.”

Media bulletin No.11 / 1150hrs / 29th October, 2008

Car 203 Leonid Novitskyi (RUS)

Car had stopped on SS3 after 93kms.

Rider comments after Nissan SS3
1. Marc Coma (E)
“It was really tough, especially with all the soft sand and with the high temperatures, and after 200km in the saddle it is very hot.”

Asked if he was confident of a third successive win in the UAE he smiled and said: “We’ll leave that for the moment because there’s still a long way to go.”

2. Cyril Despres (F)
“It was a long, hard day and really fast desert conditions. It wasn’t what I had expected. I expected more dunes.”

3. James West (GB)
“With the foggy start, it was like a winding road in Scotland. The stage today didn’t allow you to relax at all. In fact in the first 20km I came off the bike three times because of the soft sand. The middle part was ok and in the last part again I had the same problems, coming off the bike several times.”

6. Francisco Lopez (RCH) “Today was very, very difficult and very long. Combined with the soft sand it proved to be good training and I feel very happy about the way I rode the bike.”

32. Ruben Faria (P)
“It was very hard for most of the way. There were some fast sections which were good. 20km from the finish I suffered clutch problems so I’m pleased to complete the stage.”


Media bulletin No.10 / 1650hrs / 28th October, 2008

Driver comments after Nakheel SS2

204 Yahya Alhelei (UAE) “It’s been a really difficult day because of the soft, deep sand with some very big dunes to get out of. Some so big you had to circle a few times to build up speed. You need experience on these stages so it’s been a good day really.”

220 Ali Al Shawi (UAE) “I enjoyed it very much. It was fun. The car is going well and the sand dunes covered 90% of the stage, which we like.”

222 Ali Matar (UAE)
“Today was very long with lots of soft sand but we’re ok and the car’s ok”.

Media bulletin No.9 / 1510hrs / 28th October, 2008

Co-driver Tim Ansell (Car No.208), evacuated by helicopter from SS 1 yesterday, is expected to be released from Medinat Zayed Hospital on Friday after treatment for a back injury.

News and incidents from Nakheel SS2

24. Gerard Farres (E)
After being evacuated to Medinat Zayed Hospital by helicopter, he will need surgery for a broken wrist.

15. Janis Vinters (LV) Evacuated by helicopter to Medinat Zayed Hospital after being hurt in a fall on the stage. Being treated for a broken bone in his back.

17. Kemal Merkit (TR)
Broke his wrist in a fall approx 7km after PC2 and was evacuated by helicopter to Medinat Zayed hospital.

6. Matteo Graziani (I)
Assessed by a helicopter crew near PC2 and was suffering from dehydration. After being rehydrated he returned by road to the bivouac.

51. Richard Clarke (GB)
Evacuated from stage by helicopter suffering from fatigue and taken to the bivouac medical centre for assessment.

Media bulletin No.8 / 1345hrs / 28th October, 2008

Competitor comments after Nakheel SS2


201 Nasser Al Attiyah (QA)
“Job done. It was a really difficult stage and was slow because of the soft sand. We were careful and made no mistakes and we were able to cover the last 30km very fast because the sand was harder.”


83. Mohammed Al Shamsi (UAE)

“I’m really happy to get to the finish. Today I’ve had a lot of problems with the fuel pump, and the clutch went and had to be replaced. The quad is running slower than yesterday.”

Media bulletin No.7 / 1235hrs / 28th October, 2008

Rider comments after Nakheel SS2

1. Marc Coma (E)
“Today was very difficult because of the terrain. When you start early you always expect to lose time which I have done today. But it’s only day two and I’m quite happy.”

2. Cyril Despres (F) “It was really, really tough, especially because of the heat and the difficult sand. But the bike’s ok.”

32. Ruben Faria (P)
“Apart from the difficult sand it’s been good with the bike running well, good suspension and my navigation was ok.”

11. Paul Rivet (F) “It’s been a tough, hot day.”

18. Tim Trenker (D)
“I flew off a dune, landed very badly, and how I survived I don’t know, but I’m ok.”

56. Alan Roberts (AUS)
“I’m very happy. The terrain was good and I managed to get past a few riders. So it was a good day two for me.”

Media bulletin No.6 / 1105hrs / 28th October, 2008

Incidents from Nakheel SS2

24. Gerard Farres (E)
Fell and knocked unconscious approxmately 10km into the stage. Regained consciousness and was evacuated by helicopter to Medina Zayed Hospital.

Media bulletin No.5 / 1715hrs / 27th October, 2008

Incidents from Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority SS1

208 David Mabbs / Tim Ansell (UAE / UAE) Toyota FJ Cruiser T1 Co-driver Tim Ansell sustained a back injury when the car had a heavy landing near PC3.

He was evacuated by helicopter to Medinat Zayed Hospital for a scan. He was comfortable and the injury was not believed to be serious.

Media bulletin No.4 / 1620hrs / 27th October, 2008

Comments from drivers after Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority SS1

206 Andrew Bowler (GB) “The dunes seemed to go on and on, and on, and since we are used to short English stages we found it
difficult to get a good rhythm going. But we’re very much enjoying our first Desert Challenge.”

217 Bruce Garland (AUS) “It’s been a really smelly drive because the car has been running so hot. Even the paint is burning. We
stopped to cool it down but lost about half an hour. However, it’s a good test for Dakar.”

222 Ali Matar (UAE)
“No real surprises with the stage, apart from the car overheating a little. We lost a couple of minutes when
we got stuck once. Otherwise all ok.”

Media bulletin No.3 / 1530hrs / 27th October, 2008

Comments from drivers after Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority SS1

201 Nasser Al Attiyah (QA)
“I had a really steady drive through the soft sand and tried to do our very best in hot temperatures. We had
a lot of new things in the car in preparation for Argentina so we are being careful because of that and with
the weight in the middle of the car the gong was really well.”

204 Yahya Alhelei (UAE) “It was a good day even though we lost 20 minutes due to a problem with the suspension. We were still able to
pass quite a few cars.”

205 Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)
“The tempo was hard to find on the dunes and perhaps we were extra cautious with the car, so we lost a bit of
time. But the car is running ok.”

Media bulletin No.2 / 1425hrs / 27th October, 2008

Comments from riders after Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority SS1

1. Marc Coma (E)
“The fist part of the stage was good and very fast. Having decided to start at 21st position it was difficult
to pass some of the riders. In the final part I lost some time due to mechanical problems which we need to
sort out. But overall it was a new route and I like new challenges.”

2. Cyril Despres (F)
“It was a nice ride. I managed to get past a lot of other riders. But coming from Europe it has been hard to
adjust to the weather and I suffered from a lot of cramp in my arm which is unusual for me. The first part
was very dusty.”

6. Francisco Lopez (RCH)
“The bike went well. It was a nice ride and a good mix of terrain.”

18. Tim Trenker (D)
“I had a good start and managed to get past quite a few riders even though I did slip and slide a few times.”

15. Janis Vinters (LV)
“I had a good ride but took it carefully because there’s a lot more sand here than there is at home. The
bike’s running well.”

19. Alain Duclos (F)
“This has been a good test for me after a long break. The bike is running perfectly and it’s a good test for
the Dakar.”

83. Mohammed Al Shamsi (UAE)
“The first part was very fast not the best terrain for the quads. But after the refuelling it was superb
terrain with lots of sand dunes, ideal for quad bikes. I had one mechanical problem when my exhaust broke but
it was repaired using a metal vacuum flask.”

Media bulletin No.1 / 1530hrs / 25th October, 2008


The pipeline running South-West from Tharwaniyah on the Liwa crescent road
(GPS N23 04 560 / E054 01 100) to Shah field is OUT OF BOUNDS to all media vehicles and all other vehicles
connected with the UAE Desert Challenge.