MEDIA BULLETINS 2014

Media bulletin No.19 1300hrs 10th April, 2014

303. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhilstov (RUS /RUS)

“I'm very happy. I'm sure when we enter the podium it will come home that I've won the Desert Challenge. For me this is definitely the most difficult leg of the FIA Cross Country Rally series. On the last stage there weren't as many dunes and we had to make our own tracks because we didn't want to follow the bikes. The Desert Challenge is the most challenging experience in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. It's a very special feeling to win.”

306. Erik Van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar (NED / NED)

“Today we had good dunes at the beginning, fast tracks and beautiful scenery. We took it easy as Egypt is next and there would be no time to repair or rebuild.”

“The mini is an incredible car and makes you quicker and quicker. The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is a great event and perfectly organised, but it’s tough for our mechanics to be in the bivouac - next year they must stay in the hotel. We will be back absolutely.”

310. Yahya Alhelei / Khalid Alkendi (ARE / ARE)

“It was a tight race between me and 307 for third. I think he won the spot by only 8 seconds. It was a great battle between us on the last leg. After 50kms I caught up with him and took 3 minutes off him, and we were going head to head up to PC2 when my engine started to overheat so I had to pull back.

“After that it stopped four times and eventually I lost too much time, but well done to 307. He is a great driver and congratulations to him for getting third. This is my 24th year at the Desert Challenge and I enjoy it every year, competing against my friends. It's a great week and a world-class event that puts the UAE on the big stage.”

312.  Adam Malysz  / Rafal Marton (POL / POL)

“This is my first World Cup podium so I'm very happy today. I had a sore neck from yesterday but my plan was just to finish with a good pace and tempo, not too fast but enough to finish strongly. It's been great practice for me in the sand and the dunes and will see how many more starts we can manage for the rest of the series. It’s my first World Cup podium.”

307. Miroslav Zapletal / Maciej Marton (CZE / POL)

“It was very close for third place today between me and Yahya. We had a small problem today when we got stuck in a hole and lost some time because of it. After that we did everything we could and pushed very hard in the final stages. Luckily it ended well for us. It's been an amazing week here in the UAE desert and I really enjoyed being here.”

322  Ahmed Al Shegawi / Arif Bin Mohammed (KSA / UAE)

“This is a new car for us and unfortunately we only raced on the first and last days. After about 160kms on Leg 1 the engine started misfiring so we had to withdraw. When went to look at the problem at the bivouac the engine blew. Luckily we had another engine so we put that in and completed today's leg just to show that we could do. We started 30th today and passed about 15 cars so it was a good feeling. Today's stage really suited this car.”

304  Marek Dabrowski / Jacek Czachor (POL / POL)

“A very good race, but one mistake, one small crash yesterday made it difficult for the team. We rolled slowly onto the roof, but it was really difficult to put the car back on its wheels. But we are here at the finish which is good.”

Media bulletin No.18  1145hrs 10th April, 2014

1. Paulo Goncalves (POR)

“I feel really happy to have won and for the team who altogether made an extraordinary job in Abu Dhabi. We’ve had five days of racing and no problems, and it proves we are very strong and competitive. I’m very confident for the future. Today was a really fast stage. I knew I had to catch Marc, and the first 90km were very fast.”

2. Marc Coma (SPA)

“It was a very nice race. I love the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. I tried to fight right till the end to catch Paulo, but well done to him. It was a great race till the end, and I think he won by about 30 seconds. It's been great riding with Sam (Sunderland) this week. He brings a lot of energy to the KTM team and we now look to Qatar and aim for a good win for the team.”

9.   Jordi Viladoms (SPA)

“It was a very fast stage today. For the whole five days I just tried to make my own pace. It was very hard to stay with fast guys at the front but I just tried to keep the same rhythm throughout. I finished fourth overall I think which is good for the KTM team. The stages are more or less the same on all five days, with a lot of deep soft sand. I'm happy to finish but for sure I need to improve to stay with the leading guys.”

17. Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE)

“I'm quite upset with today. We had a great four days but everyone has bad days and today it was a bad day for me. Unfortunately it had to be the last day. My bike stalled just before refuel and I couldn't get it started again. I fiddled around and eventually got going again, but obviously I lost a lot of time.

“I was coming sixth overall, now I'm eighth, but anyway the goal was to finish in the top ten and we did that so I'm very happy for that. It’s frustrating when the problem is out of your hands. I was riding great but my bike just let me down in the end.”

201.   Rafal Sonik (POL)

“It's been a good day and a good week for me. I decided at the beginning of the season to come to the Desert Challenge and this has been a great event for me. It's my fifth time here, and I didn't have a lot of luck in my earlier attempts, but now I'm very happy to win this time. I was very consistent this week and only lost one stage due to mechanical problems, so that's easily fixed. The desert is great, absolutely great, now home.”

206.   Sergey Karyakin (RUS)

“I was looking for a stage win so much, but 20km from the finish I had to rewire a spark plug and I lost a lot of time. It was a great learning event and it increased my performance level, and that is what I wanted.”

22. Christopher Dunn (GBR)

“A good event, my second time and this year has been better for me than last year. Today was good, but a times difficult to follow all the tracks. I hope to back next year if I can get funding because it is expensive taking part.”

39.  Kristian Karcher (DEU)

“It feels brilliant to finish the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. I just tried to get through the day with no crashes and I did it. It was just so much fun. I was leading a couple of other guys and took a wrong turn. Luckily I got back on track or they wouldn't have been happy. But it's a very special feeling.”

31. Santosh CS (IND)

“It was a nice race. I haven't been on the bike for a couple of months before coming here so I wasn’t pushing too hard. When you go too hard you lose a lot of energy fast. This was my substitute for the Dakar this year and riding through the sand was great training for me. The legs are shorter than Dakar clearly but they are very tough and it's been a good experience. Great organisation.”

Media bulletin No.17 1525hrs 9th April, 2014

NISSAN PATROL SS4 UPDATES

    6.   Sam Sunderland (GBR)

“It’s been a great week with KTM, everything has been really good.  The team is awesome to work with and the bike has been fantastic. Unfortunately I had a mechanical problem today with the swingarm, but sometimes this is the way it goes.  It’s frustrating for it to happen toward the end of the rally when I was leading and in a strong position all week. 

But we will move forward from this and keep working and hopefully we can carry on in a good way and take the positives out of the race and come away with a win for the team.

Marc’s a great guy. He’s had an awesome career and he’s still having a great career. He’s a fierce competitor and it has been great to work with him. He has helped me out in giving me some advice, steering me in the right direction. 

So it’s awesome for me to have the opportunity to learn from somebody like Marc and hopefully I can continue to improve in the future and learn more from him.  He’s fiercely competitive of course so when you’re racing, you’re racing, but there’s been a really cool vibe in the team and a great atmosphere.

It makes coming away racing even more enjoyable. Overall it’s really good and I’m looking forward to the next races with the guys.”

Media bulletin No.16  1500hrs 9th April, 2014

NISSAN PATROL SS4 UPDATES

304      Marek Dabrowski / Jacek Czachor (POL / POL)

Rolled between PC2 and PC3, however managed to get on all four wheels again and continued on to cross the finish line with a time of 5:22.07. Drops from third position overall in the cars category to outside of the top ten. 

Media bulletin No.15 1430hrs 9th April, 2014

303. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhilstov (RUS /RUS)

“A really beautiful stage, but hard with some really high and steep dunes to climb. This year is more difficult because the ground is hard after the rains and we drive faster, which can be dangerous when you get to a dune.”

306. Erik Van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar (NED / NED)

“We passed a few cars and 311 came speeding past me which was a big surprise because I was leading him for 20km. It was tough to day because I had motion sickness and I also ran out of water.”                                                                                                      

309. Stephan Schott / Andreas Schulz (DEU / DEU)

“Quite okay today with some very steep dunes to go up and then down. It’s nice to drive on the top of the curve of the sweeping bowls, but the sand is getting softer as the days go by. The Mini is the best car I have driven - very reliable and lots of power.”

310. Yahya Alhelei / Khalid Alkendi (ARE / ARE)

“I drove with a flat tyre for the last 30km yesterday and damaged the head gasket. We changed it overnight and I was worried that the car might overheat today. Everything was ok up to PC2 but then the temperature started going up so I had to reduce my speed. I just wanted to win the Nissan prize for the fastest on this stage.”

312.  Adam Malysz  / Rafal Marton (POL / POL)

“It was a very hard stage. I went really hard into a couple of dunes and have a sore neck, but I’m happy to finish.”

324. Denis Berezovskiy / Ignat Falkov (KAZ / KAZ)

Reached the finish towing  337 Anton Grigorov / Konstatin Meshcheryakov (RUS / RUS)

338. Mark Corbett / Juan Mohr (ZAF / ZAF)

Crossed the finish line but had to push their CR5 out of the yellow zone because of gearbox problems.

211. Patrick McMurren (GBR)

“The first three days went without a hitch, then today everything came all at once. Number 44 had a bad accident so I was helping him for about 10 mins until the helicopter arrived, then my fuel pump stopped working so I had to stop and fix that. Then the tracks were just chopped up and the shocks were thrashed. The last bit was especially tough.”

26. Michal Hernik (POL)

“The sand is so soft. The mass start gives us a chance to catch up with the riders that are closer to us on the leader board. A lot of riders don’t have the power to get through the sand. It's exhausting. This is not my first time riding in the sand, but it's my first in the Desert Challenge and I've never seen anything like this.”

207.  Camella Liparoti (ITA)

“I loved the mass start, and I had a good start. This was the toughest stage so far because of three things. Firstly it's hotter, secondly there were a lot more dunes today than the previous stage and thirdly everyone was using the same tracks, so the piste was very cut up, especially across the sabka. Everyone was trying to make their own tracks and it was just huge. But I'm really enjoying it and looking forward to the last leg tomorrow.”

71. Paul Middleton (GBR)

“It was really hard today - soft sand, small dunes and it‘s getting hotter. The mass start was great fun - for a minute. Then I backed off.”

Media bulletin No.14 1300hrs 9th April, 2014

6. Sam Sunderland (GBR)

“It's unfortunate for me but this is racing, and it makes winning that much more special. You have to take the highs with the lows. Our team is still going well, Marc is doing really well and we hope for the best possible outcome. Riding with Marc has been a great experience and I'm learning a lot from him. Obviously he's hugely competitive.”

2. Marc Coma (SPA)

“The group start together on the flat was very nice, but the pace went up and Paulo pushed a lot and I tried to follow. I’m happy with the stage.”

7. Joan Barreda Bort (SPA)

“I’m very happy today. The mass start was good and a few of us rode together up to refuel, then I pushed forward and focused on a good victory for the stage, and gained a few seconds overall. Unfortunately at PC2 I broke my cable which cost me about 5 mins overall. Anyway I will try hard to make up more time tomorrow.”

9.   Jordi Viladoms (SPA)

“The mass start was strange, everyone looking at each other to see what they might do and so the tempo was slow. After refueling I was ready to go and pushed up the tempo.”

1. Paulo Goncalves (POR)

“Again a very difficult stage. The pace was a bit slow to begin with up to refuel then it got faster. I got stuck once and lost a bit of time. Now I think I'm a few minutes off Marc overall but we will see how it goes tomorrow.”

8. Helder Rodrigues  (POR)

“Not perfect and I’m glad I made it to the finish. It was a nice start, good to have the other riders around.”

17. Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE)

“It was tough today because of the high pace, and I was happy to keep up. But in the last 30km the leaders pulled away and there was too much dust. The mass start helped me as I did not need to navigate.”

24.   Oliver Lloyd (GBR)

“A good day but harder than previous. It was mayhem at the start, but I got near the front and then broke away. I had to because the dust was too much. That flat plains was hard ground - a tiring and hot day.”

202.   Mohammed Abu Isa (QAT)

“The mass start was very good for us because we got to start with all the leading bikers which set us a strong pace. I'm really tired now but I think I'm catching up on Sonik. I lost a lot of time after I had some problems on SS1, but I caught up a few minutes on him today.”

201.   Rafal Sonik (POL)

“In the mass start I ate a lot of dust from other riders which I think must have gotten into my air filter because three times the engine just stopped and I went over the handle bars. Fortunately it's soft sand so nothing bad happened. But I lost a few minutes. It's not a big deal. We will just have to soak and clean the filters again and we will be all good for the last stage tomorrow.”

206.   Sergey Karyakin (RUS)

“Today was interesting, a lot of high dunes and high drops. I'm getting used to the dunes now and I'm starting to go faster, but I'm still a long way off the leaders in the quads so there's no point in pushing too hard. I'm just trying to find my rhythm each stage and make the finish. I think I’m coming third now in the quads and I'm really enjoying it more.”

25.   Jakub Piatek (POL)

“For me it was a difficult day. I was very lazy going through the dunes and just didn't push that hard, and just tried to finish with no incidents. I usually ride motor cross so I'm used to the mass start and got an early lead. But I helped another rider who crashed and so I lost about 5 minutes.”

22. Christopher Dunn (GBR)

“Compared to the KTMs and Hondas my bike lacks a lot of power so I was behind at the start. I rode with Santos and one of the quads for most of the way up, then I stalled and lost a bit of ground. At the refuel I rode with Santos and a quad again. We lost a bit of time due to some navigation errors but it was ok. I can't make up any time on the leaders so there's not much point in pushing too much. I just want to finish safely.”

21.  Thomas Berglund (SWE)

“It was a great ride apart from the last 70kms and I felt that my engine lost a lot of power so I had to cruise the last part. I was in the last mass start so I could make my own way, but I went off a really steep drop and lost my silencer. I hope no one followed me off it because the landing was real hard, but it was a fun stage.”

39.  Kristian Karcher (DEU)

“Not so good today because I lost position in the mass start and when Steve Collie (11) crashed I stayed with him to see if he was okay. Then I get a flat at PC2 and in the last part I tried to catch another rider.”

31. Santosh CS (IND)

“My first 5-day event and moving from motocross I now have a lot of respect for the guys who do this all the time. To ride and navigate at the same time you have to be smart. Rallying is now my future and my aim is Dakar.”

Media bulletin No.13  1010hrs 9th April, 2014

NISSAN PATROL SS4 UPDATES

6.   Sam Sunderland (GBR)

“I was opening the piste after the mass start of first 15 bikes for about 30kms, then went over a few sand spits, and broke the swingarm of my bike. I was unable to continue in the leg and will discuss with the team the way forward if I can take part in final leg tomorrow.”

44.   David Watson (GBR)

Crashed about 35kms into the stage, head colliding with the GPS.  The SAR helicopter arrived on the scene and flew the rider to Mafraq Hospital with facial injuries.

Media bulletin No.12  1400hrs 8th April, 2014

303. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhilstov (RUS /RUS)

“At the beginning and the end the stage was very difficult and dangerous, especially in cars as the dunes were so steep and there were some very big drops in the last 3 km. The middle of the stage was very nice and smoother, but the end especially was hard. For the bikes it would have been ok but it was tricky for the cars.”

305 Reinaldo Varela / Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA / BRA)

“I got stuck twice today, once with Erik Van Loon, which was a big one and I lost about 15 minutes because of it.”

304  Marek Dabrowski / Jacek Czachor (POL / POL)

“I got dug in twice, I don’t know why, but lost concentration. It is a very tough race for our team and it is not easy to push all the time. After getting stuck I decided to push less.”

310. Yahya Alhelei / Khalid Alkendi (ARE / ARE)

“I lost 5 or 6 minutes with a puncture which happened on landing after a big drop. The wheel was difficult to change in the soft sand, but it was a good day. I’m enjoying the car and the rally.”

29.   Maciej Berdysz (POL)

“Every day I'm learning something new. This is my first time riding in the Desert Challenge and I've never seen sand like this before. Hopefully by the end I can start to build more speed and catch up with the faster guys.”

71.   Paul Middleton (GBR)

“It was quite good today, very technical but fast so it was nice. I dropped off a couple of times but nothing major. It was the best I've ridden over the last few stages. It's really nice out there.”

37.   Guillaume Martens (NED)

“I was getting very tired at the end and lost control, went over the handle bars, and ended up dazed and lying on the sand with the wheels still spinning. But it's a beautiful ride whatever happens, it's the best.”

207.  Camella Liparoti (ITA)

“The dunes were challenging today. I had a crash, but all okay.”

44. David Watson (GBR)

“This is my first time at the Desert Challenge and it's certainly tough going, I had a bit of a hard landing coming over one jump which slowed me a little. I'm doing this because I want to do the Dakar. I've been rallying for 40 years but I've never experienced anything like this before. The dunes, camels, scenery is just breathtaking.”

Media bulletin No.11  1215hrs 8th April, 2014

6. Sam Sunderland (GBR)

“It was a nice stage. I caught Marc after about 80km and then made the pace up until refuel.

Then the Honda guys caught us towards the end so we just chilled a bit and let them make the pace. Whenever you open you will always lose a bit of ground on the following riders and we knew the Honda guys would catch us. The wrist is a bit sore still but we’ll see how it goes.”

2. Marc Coma (SPA)

“Today I started first and I knew I would lose time. I went over a big jump at the start which left me a bit sore but I'm ok. The bike is going really well and everything is good.”

7. Joan Barreda Bort (SPA)

“It was good today, I’m really happy. I pushed hard in the early part to catch Paulo and then pushed to catch the KTM riders so I’m happy, and happy for Paulo.”

9.   Jordi Viladoms (SPA)

“It was ok today, but early on my rib was not too good. But after refueling I felt better, and I’ve tried to improve my speed each day to get faster.”

1. Paulo Goncalves (POR)

Today was a nice stage. Me and Barreda finally caught the two KTM guys and so far finished first and second. Now we have two stages to go and we are really confident. We are really happy with the new bikes in the desert and are not too far behind the leaders overall. But we will have to ride very fast to catch them at the end.”

10. Miran Stanovnik (SLO)

“Today was very nice. I made good time early on in the big dunes, and enjoyed the views. The last few kilometers I hit a few drops and had a crash, but no problems, so a nice day.”

8. Helder Rodrigues  (POR)

“Today was a fun day. I caught up with Jordi (9) and we rode together. Just two more stages to go. We’ll see how it goes.”

24.   Oliver Lloyd (GBR)

“I’m really pleased with this my first World Championship event, despite going over the handlebars. It's a big effort to pick up a bike in this heat. But all okay.”

17. Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE)

“Today was the best day for me so far. It was very fast and tricky, the way I like it, and I finally found my rhythm today, even though I had good times the last two days I really felt that I was riding my bike perfectly today.

“It's thanks to my whole team and sponsors that I'm here, and I'm really looking forward to finishing the challenge in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. It's a shame that I'm the only Emirati riding in the rally this week but I'm riding for my country today and I'm very happy overall.”

31. Santosh CS (IND)

“It was a tough day. I did some damage to the bike after a huge crash on a big drop, but I'm okay.”

39. Kristian Karcher (DEU)

“It was beautiful. It gets nicer every day. Yesterday was a bit tough but today was just wonderful with wide open dunes and spectacular scenery. I was here two years ago and didn't have a clue, now I'm really enjoying it.”

201.   Rafal Sonik (POL)

“Today I saw one of the helicopters and its rotors were not moving, and so I was very peaceful. It meant that there were no incidents and they had nothing to do which is good news. As far as the stage goes it was the nicest for so far. Yesterday there were parts that were very hard, but today the dunes were much nicer. I liked this stage the most.”

206.   Sergey Kayaking (RUS)

“A pretty good stage, despite running out of fuel 10km before PC3, but with help I refueled. I started relaxed but got sharper as the stage progressed and I’m hoping for a good result.”

212.   Matyas Sofia (HUN)

“I rolled over 5km before the finish and damaged the front of my quad, but I'm okay.”

202.   Mohammed Abu Isa (QAT)

“It was hard to keep up with the bikes today as they were going very fast, as was the case last year. This is my favorite stage, a lot of big dunes. I think I made up some time today.”

Media bulletin No.10  08.45hrs 8th April, 2014

INCIDENT UPDATES FROM SS2

3. Jakub Przygonski (POL)

In a stable condition at Madinat Zayed Hospital with three broken vertebrae in lumbar, and broken upper arm. Decision will be made today whether surgery is required.

332. Ali Al Shawi (UAE)

Discharged from Madinat Zayed Hospital. Is out of the race.

317. Mohamed Al Mansoori (UAE)

Has been transferred to Abu Dhabi with three broken vertebrae in his back. Decision will be made today pertaining to next steps.

43. Ibrahim Bugla (UAE)

Discharged from Madinat Zayed Hospital with minor collar bone injury. Has been declared fit to race for SS4.

38. Jan Zatko (SLO)

Broke collar bone and one vertebra but is in stable condition and safe.

37. Guillaume Martens (NED)

Has passed medical examination following the end of SS2 and has started SS3.

Media bulletin No.9  18.00hrs 7th April, 2014

3. Jakub Przygonski (POL)

Has three broken vertebrae in his back as well as a broken arm, and is being assessed overnight by doctors at Madinat Zayed Hospital before a decision is taken on whether surgery will be required.

332. Ali Al Shawi (UAE)

In a stable condition at Madinat Zayed Hospital after being evacuated from today’s stage by helicopter with a broken T12 vertebrae in his back.

317. Mohamed Al Mansoori (UAE)

Being assessed at Madinat Zayed Hospital after being evacuated from today’s stage by helicopter with three broken vertebrae in his back.

43. Ibrahim Bugla (UAE)

In a stable condition at Madinat Zayed Hospital after being evacuated from today’s stage by helicopter with a broken collar bone.

38. Jan Zatko (SLO)

Has undergone CT scans at Madinat Zayed Hospital after being evacuated from today’s stage by helicopter with head and chest injuries.

37. Guillaume Martens (NED)

Being assessed at Madinat Zayed Hospital after being evacuated from the bivouac by helicopter when he reported to the medical centre with a back injury.

Media bulletin No.8  14.30hrs 7th April, 2014

302. Nani Roma / Michel Perin (ESP / FRA)

“It wasn't a good day for me. I just started to get sick from the motion of the dunes before PC1 and had to stop and get some medical assistance. The doc gave me a few pills and then I was ok, but this happens.

I have this problem in the Desert Challenge a lot, and at least the rally raid team is still in a good position. I will just keep on going for the last three legs.”

303. Vladimir Vailyev / Konstantin Zhilstov (RUS /RUS)

“Really ok today, despite the dunes being difficult, with so many drops. We had to go at a slower speed because of that.”

304. Marek Dabrowski / Jacek Czachor (POL / POL)

“Very difficult as we opened the route for around 200km, and it was very tiring. We have a good team spirit and had a fight with everyone, but not each other.”

310. Yahya Alhelei / Khalid Alkendi (ARE / ARE)

“I drove hard today passing seven or so cars, but I hit a ridge hard so my suspension is not good and after that I had to drive slower. This year it is not our rally. The sand is just too hard for us because of the rain. If it was soft we would have a better chance. You can even drive with 2wd out there. Our springs are too soft for the sand. Maybe if we had harder springs we would have a better chance.”

312. Adam Malysz  / Rafal Marton (POL / POL)

“Today was very good until around 20km from the end when I made a mistake and got stuck. I lost maybe 4 or 5 minutes.”

323 Yasir Seaidan / Laurent Lichtleuchter (KSA / FRA)

“Today was hard with so much soft sand and we got stuck twice. Once Roma came to help and he pulled us out.”

320 Matar Al Mansoori / Ahmed Al Hajri (UAE / OMA)

“Today was really good. I really like the big dunes. The car is running well.”

207.   Camella Liparoti (ITA)

“It was more technical today and it's getting hotter and hotter. Before PC3 there were a lot of drop offs in the dunes that you couldn't see. Even the road books can't help. It is all about just reading the piste.”

71.   Paul Middleton (GBR)

‘It was good. I rode with three other guys today which was a great way of doing it. The last 100kms was very technical and fast. I will just take every day as it comes.”

37.   Guillaume Martens (NED)

“The stage was beautiful. I was going very well until after PC2 when I crashed. I was flying for about 20 metres downhill and damaged the front of my bike. I have a sore neck and bit my tongue also. After that I lost my confidence a bit. It's a shame because I was going so well but it's hard once you are out of energy. I love the sand though and am really enjoying my first Desert Challenge.”

26.   Michal Hernik (POL)

“The dunes are so dangerous. You have to be very careful each time you go off one. It's very hard to spot the drop offs and it's easy to come off at the bottom, but we survived. Now some swimming pool action ahead of tomorrow's leg.”

16.   Alan Boyter (GBR)

“The first half of the stage was just stunning, absolutely beautiful. The second part was a lot softer.  This is my second Desert Challenge and I remember after the second stage last year I was just broken, so I've obviously improved a lot. I’m a circuit racer normally so this is a whole new concept to me.”

35.  Jeroen Van Daele (NED)

“It was really beautiful, with overwhelming surroundings. The dunes look like they are going to last forever and you are wondering how you are ever going to get over them. I've never seen drop offs like this but I love it. There's more speed than I'm used to and it's also very tricky because you feel like speeding then you see a drop off at the last minute.”

211.   Patrick McMurren (GBR)

“Awesome, great fun from beginning to end. Nice dunes, big bowls to race around. A real desert challenge - puts a smile on your face.”

20.   Anastasiya Nifontova (RUS)

“A couple of times I had to stop and get off the bike to hold it up and now I'm exhausted.”

43.  Ibrahim Bugla (UAE)

“I fell just at the end. It always happens like this at the end of the stage when you feel exhausted and make mistakes. I just hit a bush and went over the handle bars, hit my head on hard ground, now have a sore neck and was a little dizzy after that. I think it was caught on video camera so there will be some evidence.”

Media bulletin No.7  1320hrs 7th April, 2014

3. Jakub Przygonski (POL)

Was injured in an accident 190kms into today’s stage, setting off his satellite alarm at 10.47hrs.

A medical team arrived by helicopter at the scene at 11.02hrs. They found Przygonski had a back injury and a broken right upper arm, but no head injuries.

He was evacuated by helicopter to Madinat Zayed Hospital where he was assessed by doctors and found to be stable.

6. Sam Sunderland (GBR)

“It was my job to open the piste today and I did that well until PC1. Then I missed a hop and I hurt my wrist a little bit after that, but it was ok. Marc took over at the refuel and passed me at the finish. I’m feeling mentally very tired right now but overall it was another good day.”

2. Marc Coma (SPA)

“It was another good day today. Myself and Sam again rode together. They were very tough conditions for sure. There’s still another three days to go so we need to stay on top and sharp.”

1. Paulo Goncalves (POR)

“Today was another difficult day. I started 3rd and finished 3rd. At the end I couldn't keep up with Sam and Marc - they are too good. But my bike is going really well in the sand and I will continue to go hard over the last three stages.”

10. Miran Stanovnik (SLO)

“Today conditions were very tricky. You feel that you can go fast and hard, but then you realise there are some big drops that are very difficult to spot, and it's quite hard. I saw one crash and then you realise this sport is a serious sport for men, not children.”

8. Helder Rodrigues  (POR)

“Not so perfect today . I saw Kuba crash. He seemed okay. I am happy to just finish.”

21.   Thomas Berglund (SWE)

“Today was great. I was quite cautious as I crashed yesterday so I was riding a bit like a chicken today. This is my first Desert Challenge and the sand is very tricky but I'm enjoying it.”

24.   Oliver Lloyd (GBR)

“This is my first Desert Challenge and I'm learning a lot. Today was a lot slower than yesterday because there were less tracks. The drop offs were horrible, and the heat has damaged my shocks. I've done a lot of fitness training to prepare for this so I'm not too tired yet.”

22. Christopher Dunn (GBR)

“It was a tough stage. I caught up with a couple of guys at the beginning and we rode together, about eight of us, up to the refuel point. After that I cracked my goggles and I couldn't see much so I had to back off a bit.”

17. Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE)

“There were so many dunes and it was difficult to tell where they dropped off. After yesterday’s incident I could not ride with a good pace.”

31. Santosh CS (IND)

“It was an amazing day, more so than yesterday. The dunes were hard to tackle, but the bike is fantastic and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

39. Kristian Karcher (DEU)

“The first part was wonderful, the last was tough with small choppy dunes with holes the size of a bike.”

201.   Rafal Sonik (POL)

“It was very tricky today. The desert showed how unpredictable it can be. You have a series of regular dunes and then irregular ones with drops. You think it is easy but it is not. There are holes and you could crash. You have to be extremely cautious.”

11.   Stephen Collie (NZE)

“It was tough up to the fuel stop. It was very fast with a lot of hidden drops and with the rain recently there isn't a lot of give underneath. It really suited the faster riders. After refueling it was more technical and suited me more. My goal is just to finish safely. Losing Cameron yesterday puts everything into perspective, I have a family waiting for me back home.”

206.   Sergey Karyakin (RUS)

“It was very difficult. It was up and down, right and left. It felt like I was going round and round in the same place because the dunes all just look the same and I started to get dizzy. For me it was hard to navigate because of this.  I like riding when the scenery is always changing. Let's see what the next three stages bring.”

Media bulletin No.6 0732hrs 7th April, 2014

INCIDENT UPDATES FROM YAS MARINA CIRCUIT SS1

315       Nabil Al Shamsi / Salem Rashed (UAE / UAE)

Car landed heavily after jumping one of the dunes. Co-driver Salem Rashed exited vehicle with neck pain. SAR arrived, immobilised and flew Rashed to Mafreq Hospital.  He fractured the L1 vertebra and is still in hospital.

Media bulletin No.5  1540hrs 6th April, 2014

NEWS FROM THE END OF YAS MARINA CIRCUIT SS1

310. Yahya Alhelei / Khalid Alkendi (ARE / ARE)

“Today was very difficult with some big jumps. Also it is a new car and I need more practice. I had problems with the shock absorbers, also no reserve, but being a Nissan it keeps going. Also I go slow because of my children - but with five stages I hope we will get better.”

312 Adam Malysz  / Rafal Marton (POL / POL)

“The dunes of Abu Dhabi are not so bad, but at 20km we got stuck because of my mistake. My tempo was slow. It was a good learning stage.”

202. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT)

“The stage had more dunes than I expected which was actually quite good for my bike as I had made the settings more suited to that terrain. I did struggle a little with the bike in the first half after the changes I'd made after Dakar, but the second half was much better once I got used to the bike again. Unfortunately I lost my time card so I expect a 5 mins penalty.”

207. Camella Liparoti (ITA)

“It was a bit tricky today because of the rain last week. The sand wasn’t what we expected in the Desert Challenge. There were also a lot of cars passing us and I had a few problems with the quad, but all is ok.”

8. Helder Rodrigues  (POR)

“I’m ok. I don't really know what happened today. There's something wrong with the bike I'm not sure what. It wasn't my day.”

39. Kristian Karcher (DEU)

“It was a beautiful stage with wonderful dunes, but the last part was tough because of the crash. So many riders stayed to assist.

22. Christopher Dunn (GBR)

“The terrain was good and the bike went really well.”

29.   Maciej Berdysz (POL)

“It isn't my first time in sand but I have never seen dunes so big. My goodness how big they are. It is a good school for me. I have enjoyed it so much and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

18.  Aleksei Nikishkin (RUS)

“First impressions of the Desert Challenge are great. It's not easy. Something happened to the bike, I’m not sure what. The sand was very heavy and soft at the end in particular.”

71.  Paul Middleton (GBR)

“It’s my fourth Desert Challenge. Last time was back in 2007 and it's definitely harder now, but it's eight years later so it's probably just an age thing. The stage was harder than I thought it would be though, more technical.”

26.  Michal Hernik (POL)

“This is my first Desert Challenge and it's hard. The dunes and constant sand is probably the hardest part. I'm not going too fast as the main goal is just to finish the race with a few of my friends. My bike is very fast. It can go up to 170kmh on the flat but it also goes well in the dunes, it's going well at the moment.

309.     Stephan Schott / Andreas Schulz (DEU / DEU)

“It wasn’t too difficult out there today but I think the sand will definitely challenge the beginners.  We did get stuck once and lost maybe 10 min.  It’s hard, not hot. We hardly used the air conditioner today.”

Media bulletin No.4   1530hrs 6th April, 2014

NEWS FROM THE END OF YAS MARINA CIRCUIT SS1

302. Nani Roma / Michel Perin (ESP / FRA)

“There were a lot of dunes, but I had no problems and navigation is going well. I’m testing some new systems. The car and it's going very well so far.”

303. Vladimir Vailyev / Konstantin Zhilstov (RUS /RUS)

“Today went well. I didn't go too fast. I did get stuck a couple of times and we lost some time but overall I am happy.”

306. Erik Van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar (NED / NED)

“The car is incredible and the air con is working better than my own car. I've only done the Desert Challenge last year. The first stage is definitely tougher this year. We made a small mistake at the end and had to backtrack, lost maybe 10 minutes as a result.”

304. Marek Dabrowski / Jacek Czachor (POL / POL)

“Today was very hot, very tough and some unexpected jump. The sand was also very soft but my co-driver did some very good navigation.”

309. Stephan Schott / Andreas Schulz (DEU / DEU)

“I was waiting 150kms to take a leak. It wasn't too difficult out there today but I think the sand will definitely challenge the beginners. We did get stuck once and lost maybe 10 mins. It's hard but not hot. We hardly used the ac today.”

Media bulletin No.3   15.10hrs 6th April, 2014

CAMERON WAUGH – ORGANISERS ANNOUNCEMENT

It is with deep sadness that the oganisers announce that Dubai-based British rider Cameron Waugh (No.41) has succumbed to injuries at Mafraq Hospital, Abu Dhabi following an accident on SS1.

The accident happened 155km after the start of the stage, and Cameron was found by fellow rider Jakub Przygonski (No.3) from Poland who set off the satellite alarm at 11.42am and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Two doctors and a paramedic arrived at the scene by helicopter within 13 minutes and Cameron was immediately transferred to hospital. He was pronounced dead at 12.55pm. 

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers, said: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by the news, and on behalf of the ATCUAE and everyone connected with the event, I send our sincere condolences to Cameron’s family.

“He was one of our regular competitors and a very likeable and popular one who loved the sport, and we have lost one of our own today.

“Safety is always our top priority, and the highly motivated professionals in our Search and Rescue and medical teams who responded to today’s accident did everything within their power. Our thoughts are with Cameron’s family.”

Sulayem paid tribute to Jakub Przygonski. He said: “Jakub performed CPR to the point of exhaustion, and was heroic in the way he tried to save a fellow competitor.”

“A lot of other riders stopped at the scene of the accident and made the area safe, and assisted the medical team. We are very grateful to them all.”

Media bulletin No.2 1430hrs 6th April, 2014

NEWS FROM THE END OF YAS MARINA CIRCUIT SS1

1.      Paulo Goncalves (POR)

“There were no incidents. It was very hot and not an easy stage but I ended well with a good position – third.  It really pushes you physically.”

2.      Marc Coma (SPA)

“It was a very good stage. Myself and Sam (Sunderland) travelled together with a lot of rhythm. It was a little difficult navigating at the end.”

3.      Jakub Przygonski (POL)

He was in tears as he said: “No. 41 crashed in front of me, and I had to give him first aid until the helivac arrived.”

    6.   Sam Sunderland (GBR)

          “Me and Marc travelled together and luckily we had tracks from earlier riders. Then   towards the end I could go ahead. Overall was a great stage and we are very happy.”

    7.   Joan Barreda Bort (SPA)

           “A difficult stage. Not easy as I had problems with the clutch and also the fuel. I need to       work on the bike.”

    9.   Jordi Vladoms (SPA)

          “It was an easy stage and we rode as a group for the early part. Then we hit a dusty   

            piste so we split up and I got separated and I’m not happy as it cost me time.”

  10.   Miran Stanovnik (SLO)

          “From the beginning I started at 6th due to my result in the SSS. I'm a good navigator so I    

            knew I would be making the piste as one of the first riders. My main objective was to   

            keep the heart rate controlled so I'm prepared for tomorrow.”

   40.   Mark Grams (DEU)

        “Ilost my time card unfortunately. The terrain is typical Liwa desert terrain with big     

         dunes. This is my first time back in the Desert Challenge in 10 years. I forgot how

         tough it was. The bike is going great.”

 70.   David McBride (GBR)

          “Quite nice but not as fast as I expected. It's my 16th Desert Challenge and I really enjoyed

          today.”

  17.   Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE)

           “Today was tough as I am getting used to the bike and so trying to pick up on my fitness

So I took it easy. I was not racing anyone in order to finish the stage.”

Media bulletin No.1 1045hrs 5th April, 2014

RUNNING ORDER FOR YAS MARINA CIRCUIT SS1

The running order for tomorrow’s 290-km Yas Marina Circuit special stage will be determined following this afternoon’s super special spectator stage when the fastest 10 drivers, and the fastest 15 riders, will be allowed to select their positions.