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MEDIA BULLETINS 2013

Media bulletin No.21, 1524hrs, 11th April, 2013

INFORMATION AND COMMENTS FROM END OF ABU DHABI AVIATION SS5

225       Khalid Al Jafla / Ahmed Malik (UAE/ UAE)

“It feels very nice to finish. This was a good stage and very fast today. We had some problems with the radiator and had to fix it so lost a bit of time but overall I am very happy. Now we will prepare for Qatar, Egypt and of course the Desert Challenge next year.

238       Ahmed Fahim (UAE)

“Was a fantastic adventure and words don’t really describe the feeling right now. We had no incidences throughout and the Nissan stage was the best for me. I liked the technical aspects of it and getting through the dunes – this is the best part of the Desert Challenge.”

Media bulletin No20, 1250hrs, 11th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF ABU DHABI AVIATION SS5

241      Stefanie Manns / Benjamin Zirbas (GER / GER)

“It was hot and fast today compared to the other days. It feels good to have come through and complete the entire Desert Challenge.”

225      Khalid Al Jafla / Ahmed Malik (UAE/ UAE)

“It feels very nice to finish. It was a good stage and very fast today. We had some problems with the radiator and had to fix it so we lost a bit of time, but overall I am very happy. Now we will prepare for Qatar, Egypt, and of course next year’s Desert Challenge.”

238      Ahmed Fahim (UAE)

“It was a fantastic adventure and words don’t really describe the feeling right now. We had no incidents throughout and the Nissan stage for me was the best. I like the technical aspect of it and getting through the dunes – this is the best part of the Desert Challenge.”

98.       Klaus Schwingenschloegl (AUT)

“I’m 62 and the first time I competed here was 15 years ago when it was basically just like a rally. Now if you ask any of the top pro cross country riders they will tell you this is the toughest cross country rally for bikes in the world. I’m really proud to have finished at my age and I think I can even beat a few younger riders to the finish.”

26.       Christopher Dunn (GBR)

“It feels good to finish. I had a fast morning then I crashed after the refuel and twisted my leg and damaged my flap. So after that I just took it easy to the end. I hope to come back next year if I can get the money together again. It costs about AED80,000 to compete in the Desert Challenge, including all the bike gear and all the other logistical costs, plus about six months of preparation to be ready for it, including gym work, and long weekends in the desert. Now I can go back to having a normal life again for a while.”

247      Ahmed Alshegawi (SAU)

“It’s an awesome feeling just to finish the rally. Stages 2, 3 and 4, were really hard but today was smooth and fast. I think we passed a few cars coming to the finish. It’s my first year driving in the Desert Challenge and my co-driver’s seventh, and we now look to Qatar and then Egypt. For our next Desert Challenge we will try a different car, and we are also planning to compete in Dakar 2014.”

28.       Christophe Sapy (FRA)

In tears at the finish he said: “It’s beautiful, tough, I made it. I had some bike problems. I’m overcome by emotion I can’t describe it. I will definitely be back next year.”

Media bulletin No19, 1145hrs, 11th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF ABU DHABI AVIATION SS5

203      Jean Louis Schlesser / Konstantin Zhilstov (FRA / RUS)

“Today we proved that with a top class car we are the top level. Now I’m looking forward to going to Qatar and invite all cars to compete again. For me perhaps this stage was the best. It was very open and fast and a lot of fun.”

202      Krystof Holowczyc / Andreas Schulz  (POL / GER)

“This is my first Desert Challenge. At the beginning I found it very difficult as I haven’t had experience in the dunes. It was most important for us to prepare for Dakar 2014. We have a new car and this has been a great learning curve. Now we look forward to Qatar which will be faster.”

204      Nani Roma / Michel Perin (ESP / FRA)

“It’s always nice to win, and the Desert Challenge is really difficult so it’s a good feeling, but I’m also happy for the whole team. In this sport you need a lot of people around you, so victory was for everyone involved in the team. The first three days were really tough

because I had to open the stage, so I had to go fast but not make mistakes. After that I could relax a little and sit on my lead. A lot of credit must go to Michel in the co-driver seat for getting us around.”

205      Ten Brinke Bernhard / Baumel Matthieu (NLD / FRA)

“We are really happy for the first time in the Desert Challenge. Today was a really good stage. It was a nice combination of dunes and speed. I think we finished second today and now third overall, so I am happy with that. I think we will be back next year as the Desert Challenge is great preparation for the Dakar Rally. The people are really nice, the area is spectacular and it’s been a fantastic experience.”

214       Stephan Schott / Holm Schmidt (GER / GER)

“It’s a great situation to finish the Desert Challenge. I love to drive here in this event. You don’t have to destroy the car. It’s like a vacation when I come here. Some parts are not easy but it’s my seventh Desert Challenge and I enjoy it every time. What’s unique about the Desert Challenge is that you have relatively short stages and they are all nearby, and the facilities are excellent. Plus there is the Qasr Al Sarab Resort to enjoy.”

Media bulletin No18, 1140hrs, 11th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF ABU DHABI AVIATION SS5

7.         Sam Sunderland (UAE)

“It was a really good week for me but I made a big mistake yesterday. During liaison I went to talk to the mechanic about my broken exhaust late in the race and after talking to him I forgot to go through the final two gates and got a ten minute penalty. I’m really gutted, but those are the rules.”

1.         Marc Coma Camps (ESP)

“I’m very happy to win but feel sorry for Sam because it was clear he was the fastest rider over the five days and deserved his victory. But those are the rules and we have to abide by them. For me I was just riding easy for the first three days and just trying to get used to the desert again. I rode harder today, but I knew I had to ride cleanly and not make any mistakes.”

6.         Helder Rodrigues (PRT)

“It was very difficult for the riders, but it feels good to finish now. I obviously had a lot of problems on the first day and for the final three days I was just getting in practice.”

147.   Mohammed Abu-Issa (QAT)

“It feels great to finish and to win the quads. It was close today because I was leading by 14 minutes coming into the last stage but I made three big mistakes that cost me 12 odd minutes. Luckily. I still won so it’s an amazing feeling, especially because this is my first Desert Challenge. It’s been an unbelievable five days. My air filter was clogged 4km from the finish and my engine just stopped. I had to rip it out and crawl to the finish.”

Media bulletin No.17, 1814hrs, 10th April, 2013

Incidents from Nissan SS4

143.   Nicholas Black  (RSA)

Came off his bike and had deep laceration on the neck under the chin. Flown to Medina Zayed Hospital for stitches, and also treated for minor concussion. Non starter for SS5.

Updates from Qasr Al Sarab SS3

35.   S Santosh Chunchungguppe  (IND)

Burns still swollen, and remains at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Soon to be visited by surgeon, but in good shape and expected to be released from hospital shortly.

Media bulletin No16, 1430hrs, 10th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF NISSAN SS4

225       Khalid Al Jafla / Ahmed Malik (UAE/ UAE)

“We were actually happy today. This was a long stage but a fast one. At points we reached 100kph but the other cars were hitting 190kph. We have a better chance of winning when there are more dunes. When it is flat like this we have no chance. The second stage was best for us for sure. We will come back next year and try to do better with better machinery.”

249       Yasir Saeidan (SAU)

“The dunes are really amazing. You feel like you are on the moon when you are on them. We actually got a puncture today. But even though they said this was one of the tougher stages I think yesterday was the toughest. Yesterday we saw a lot of cars, bikes and quads stuck. Today we didn’t see anyone get stuck. If people had stopped it was because of mechanical issues.”

201      Reinaldo Varela / Gustavo Gugelmin  (BRA / BRA)

“After winning the Baja in Italy we came here to get some more points. This is our second time in the Desert Challenge and we are certainly finding the dunes very tough. Looking ahead we just want to finish the rally on a positive note.”

27.   David Mabbs (GBR)

“I was really going well for the first 240kms. The desert was just really smooth, fast and flowing. I could just sit back and take in the scenery. Then after PC3 I kept falling off. For the last 50kms it was like riding on talcum powder, really loose and difficult. It would have been better if the route was the other way around. I was just too tired at the end to tackle the last part, but I got through in the end.”

29.   Lukasz Juszkiewicz (POL)

“The stage was very long and a hot one. All was ok for me but I saw my team-mate get stuck in the middle of a bowl with a broken drive shaft. I stopped and gave him a bit of water but I think he’s still out there trying to get out.”

Media bulletin No15, 1340hrs, 10th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF NISSAN SS4

202      Krystof Holowczyc / Andreas Schulz  (POL / GER)

“Not a bad day today. There was some noise coming from inside the car, but for me now we just try to get as much experience of driving in the desert. This is only my fifth or sixth time. On the second leg we got stuck and lost about two hours so you can’t make up for that. We’re just taking it easy and getting as much desert driving practice as we can.”

204      Nani Roma / Michel Perin (ESP / FRA)

“I just stayed behind Krystof (Holowczyc) and used his tracks today. It was still a very difficult stage with some very tough patches where, if you got stuck, you would be there for ages. It’s nice to have a strong lead going into the final stage, but at the same time I have to remain focused as a lot can happen on one stage.”

203      Jean Louis Schlesser / Konstantin Zhilstov (FRA / RUS)

“Today was a very long and difficult stage. The dunes were very steep and very technical to get through. I hope now to just catch Spinelli and take second place overall. I think I made up five minutes on him today, but 45 minutes is too much to catch Roma.”

205      Ten Brinke Bernhard / Baumel Matthieu (NLD / FRA)

“Not a very good day. We were coming fourth until just after PC1 and then in the last 10km we heard the alarm and came across quad which was stuck, and had to navigate around. Then we got stuck and lost 10 minutes.”

235      Guilherme Spinelli / Youssef Haddad (BRA / BRA)

“Another very tough day. The organisers sure did a good job in making it a very challenging rally. Each stage is very different but equally as difficult. I made a big mistake at one point and got stuck, and we also had a problem with the fan in the engine so we had to make repairs. This all cost us time, but we are very happy. Day by day we are learning more and more and appreciate the opportunity to race here.”

Media bulletin No14, 1320hrs, 10th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF NISSAN SS4

7.         Sam Sunderland (UAE)

“The last part was all piste and I lost my exhaust, and when that happens you lose a lot of power which is what happened now. I just want to take it day by day and absolutely don’t want to think about winning right now. We will see how it goes. Anything can happen, as you can see with my exhaust. There are so many factors to take into consideration. But I am sitting in a good position and will sit with the manager tonight and talk about how we will tackle the last leg tomorrow.

137.     Mohammed Al Shamsi (UAE)

“It was a good day for me, but I had to fight hard with the other guys ahead of me. But luckily I caught them all and came in first of all the quads. I was unlucky the first couple of days but this stage was definitely the best for me.”

134.     Obaid Alkitbe (UAE)

“Today was very tough. I’m now third or fourth overall and it’s been a good day for Skydive Dubai. We all finished safely. The last few days we had some mechanical problems but today we all pulled through. Tomorrow we will try to do our best again.”

20.       Miran Stanovnik (SVN)

“The day began very well. For about 75% of it I was going great then it went into a soft part and I flipped over. So I had to stop and fix the rear fender which cost me time. After that I just rode easy for the last 50 or so km as there was no need to take risks. The body is still fine though. It wasn’t a perfect day but I’m pretty happy.”

6.         Helder Rodrigues (PRT)

“I started in front but then I got stuck and lost a lot of time, but it’s ok. The bike is getting better and better since I made the repairs after the first day and I will just push really hard tomorrow.”

Media bulletin No.13, 1828hrs, 9th April, 2013

INCIDENTS FROM QASR AL SARAB SS3

144.   Moolman Eugene  (RSA)

Fell and bruised chest, sustained deep laceration under the chin and flown to Medina Zayed Hospital to get stitched up.

35.   S Santosh Chunchungguppe      (IND)

Bike burst into flames 20km from the finish. Flown to Mafraq hospital in Abu Dhabi to treat third degree burns to the back of the neck.

Media bulletin No12, 1330hrs, 9th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF QASR AL SARAB SS3

202      Krystof Holowczyc / Andreas Schulz  (POL / GER)

“It was much easier today following Nani, and the stage was also easier than yesterday. We got a lot of speed in the higher sections and I really enjoyed it.”

204      Nani Roma / Michel Perin (ESP / FRA)

“Another difficult stage and the sand is very soft. It’s always harder to open a stage and make the tracks, and I was waiting and waiting for the cars to come behind me, but they never came. You just need to concentrate that much more in the desert. It’s really tough like that, but that’s the way it is in the Desert Challenge.”

203      Jean Louis Schlesser / Konstantin Zhilstov (FRA / RUS)

“I had a few difficulties with the car over the last two stages but it went really well today. I had a good day. I passed a couple of cars and the foot which I injured a few weeks ago feels fine in the car.”

205      Ten Brinke Bernhard / Baumel Matthieu (NLD / FRA)

“Today we went a lot easier after going too hard yesterday, so I feel good after that. I just wanted to consolidate our position and I think we achieved that so I am pleased overall.”

235      Guilherme Spinelli / Youssef Haddad (BRA / BRA)

“Again a very difficult stage and very different from yesterday. In some places it was very fast, in others very slow. I made a mistake just after the start and got stuck which cost me another ten minutes. But I am here to learn the desert so it is great practice for me.”

208       Erik Van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar (NLD / NLD)

“We got stuck at the beginning and al the cars passed us, but after that the run was perfect. It was a lot of fun and the best stage so far.”

207      Miroslav Zapletal / Maciej Marton (CZE / POL)  

“It was a very long stage today, much the same as yesterday, but longer. We made a couple of mistakes and got stuck but again I’m just happy to finish.”

Media bulletin No11, 1210hrs, 9th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF QASR AL SARAB SS3

3.         Jakub Przygonski (POL)

“Today was a very good day for me. I got lost yesterday so I had to make up some time today and I’m really happy with the result. The top four rode this stage together and we also came across a few camels. They weren’t in our way, but it was a cool experience. There were also a lot of nice jumps in this stage.”

1.         Marc Coma Camps  (ESP)

“Today we travelled in a group of four riders. Again it was a very tough stage after the sandstorms, but that’s one more day done and I’m happy with where I am. There’s still a long way to go. It’s important now to just stay focused and not make mistakes.”

4.         Paulo Goncalves (PRT)

“Today was again very tough. I fought really hard and caught the guys in front of me and I think I’m second so I’m happy and will continue to push for victory for Speedbrain. There is not much separating the top few.”

12.       Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR)

“It was a difficult day as I had to open the tracks and so I had to go slowly. It’s always easier for the following pack who always expect to catch up with the leader.”

6.         Helder Rodrigues            (PRT)

“I had to put a whole new rear part of my bike in after yesterday’s collision and I also had some heavy penalties from that today so I was just testing the whole new set up that I have.”

96.   Sean Linton (GBR)

“It was an interesting today. Up to the refuel it was much the same as yesterday but after that it was just beautiful scenery, tough but amazing. I will definitely sleep well tonight. I had no incidents today and am really enjoying it.”

147.   Mohammed Abu-Issa (QAT)

“I’ve never experienced anything like this. It’s just amazing. The scenery is spectacular and you just feel like you are on top of the world. I got a time penalty for losing my card but I think I made up for that.”

16.   Dimas Mattos (BRA)

“It was so much fun. This is my first time here and it is totally different from Brazil, but I’m really loving it. I made a lot of friends today. Even though I don’t know their names we raced together and it was amazing. I hope to come back next year.”

97.       David McBride (GBR)

“It was very tough but not too bad. I went over the handle bars about five times but my body is holding up ok, which is good for an old boy like me.”

20.       Miran Stanovnik (SVN)

“Technically, today wasn’t as tough as yesterday, but for that reason we pushed harder and so I’m just as exhausted. The sand was very soft. I’m a little older now but I can manage. I got stuck once but nothing major. But every little mistake takes that little bit of extra energy from the body.”

Media bulletin No.10, 1828hrs, 8th April, 2013

Incidents from ADNOC SS2

34.   Humphrey Senn Van Basel  (NED)

Sustained shoulder injury after falling before PC1, and was evacuated by helicopter to Medina Zayed Hospital, injured elbow.

142.   Pablo Copetti   (ARG)

After reaching PC1, suffered from nausea and sustained a chest injury – not serious and flown back to bivouac for treatment. Fit to compete Leg 3.

244      Zhanat Zhalimbetov / Marat Abykayev (UAE / UAE)

Vehicle landed heavily after going over a jump – co-driver Marat Abykayev flown to Medina Zayed Hospital with back injuries, sustained L1 vertebrae fracture.

15.   Luis Calderay Gonzalez   (ESP)

Pressed alarm close to PC2 complaining of dehydration. Treated and fit to start Leg 3.

25.   Jeremias Israel Esquerre  (CHL)

Collided into the bike of another rider who had previously fallen and fractured right arm. Flown to Medina Zayed Hospital for treatment. Non starter for Leg 3.

33.   Jacobus Potgieter  (RSA)

Pressed the alarm late in the stage with elbow pain. Assessed by doctor, and flown back to bivouac. Fit to start Leg 3.

98.   Klaus Schwingenschloegl  (AUT)

Retired at PC1 with elbow pain. Fit to start Leg 3.

228       Emil Khneisser / Manie Kruis (UAE / UAE)

Both drivers complained of dehydration and vomiting.

230       Viktor Rempel / Vernon Rempel (PRY / PRY)

Driver sounded alarm after hard impact from a jump, was extracted from car and flown to Medina Zayed Hospital. Suffered L1 vertebrae fracture.

Media bulletin No.9, 1450hrs, 8th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF ADNOC SS2

202      Krystof Holowczyc / Andreas Schulz  (POL / GER)

“We got stuck twice which was completely my fault and cost us up to 20 minutes in total. It was definitely more difficult than yesterday.”

204      Nani Roma / Michel Perin (ESP / FRA)

“It was definitely not easy and much harder than yesterday. I got stuck once and lost maybe seven minutes. But it’s ok – I’m feeling good at the moment”

205      Ten Brinke Bernhard / Baumel Matthieu (NLD / FRA)

“We were fine up to PC1 then after that my co-driver started vomiting because of motion sickness traversing all the dunes. Eventually the smell made me start vomiting also so we had to stop and recover. That cost us some time. I am absolutely exhausted.”

207      Miroslav Zapletal / Maciej Marton (CZE / POL)  

“We made one big mistake half way through. A motor bike got in our way and we had to change our route and ended up getting stuck. But I’m happy.”

235      Guilherme Spinelli / Youssef Haddad (BRA / BRA)

“This stage was more difficult than yesterday. I was climbing one of the biggest dunes in 2nd gear and at the top I tapped my brakes slightly and got stuck. It cost us maybe 10 minutes. But this is a very good experience for me as  I’ve never driven in desert  before.”

245      Hamada Al Junaibi (UAE)

“No punctures, we didn’t get stuck and the buggy is great. We saw a lot of champs getting stuck though, Schlesser, Roma, they all had trouble today.”

Media bulletin No.8, 1440hrs, 8th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF ADNOC SS2

18        Khalid Al Falasi (UAE)

“I got stuck four times and ran out of fuel. Luckily two quads helped me and gave me some fuel. I need to read the sand correctly. I will go slower over the next stages. This rally is about technique not speed. I will make some changes to the bike’s set up also.”

35        S Santosh Chunchungguppe (IND)

“This is my first Desert Challenge and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I got stuck so many times I lost count. I just hope I can go through the rest of the stages.”

135      Atif Al Zarouni (UAE)

“I had to help Khalid Al Falasai and Mohammed Al Shamsi twice as they were both stuck. I ended up giving Khalid some fuel. They are my friends, so what else could I do. My quad is going fine though.

Media bulletin No.7, 1300hrs, 8th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF ADNOC SS2

  3.  Jakub Przygonski (POL)

“It was a tough stage because I had to lead and after yesterday’s wind there were no tracks so I’m sure that many of the guys would have caught me.”

4.  Paulo Goncalves (PRT)

“Today was a really hot stage. There were a lot of dunes and deep sand but I rode safely and fast and finished well in the top three. It’s a good result and we are still in the hunt The bike is going great. It’s perfect for these conditions”

7. Sam Sunderland (UAE)

“It was hot, very hot, but a good day. I had to do a bit of extra navigation at the end but the bike is going really well. It was just nice to get out there after missing out yesterday

19.   Khalid Khamis Ozair (UAE)

“Within the first 59km I made a mistake in the deep sand and fell off the bike twice which cost me about ten minutes. But the body and the bike are ok. I will have to push real hard now over the final three stages to catch up.”

20.  Miran Stanovnik (SVN)

“It was very hot and a difficult state to navigate. There were a lot of obstacles and I got stuck twice and I was glad to get out and finish. The bike is going great. It was a bit heavy to start with as I put too much fuel in but that’s better than getting stuck with no fuel in the middle of the stage.”    

 96.   Sean Linton (GBR)

“It was really hot and there were a lot of tricky sections today. It was just glad to get a ride after yesterday, and now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.” 

134.   Obaid Alkitbe (UAE)

“After 2km I felt something was wrong with the engine so I stopped and noticed oil was leaking. I had to stop and fix it which cost me a few minutes. Then I had to complete the rest of the stage without the goggles as they were ruined by the oil, so it was a pretty difficult day for me.”

139.   Sebastian Husseini (NED)

“It was really hot today and we were thrown right into the deep end, straight into the dunes and deep sand. I think I overtook all the other quads within the first 100km. Now with only three more days to go, everyone will be flying.”

Media bulletin No.6, 1030hrs, 8th April, 2013

Incidents from ADNOC SS2

34.   Humphrey Senn Van Basel  (NED)

Sustained shoulder injury after falling before PC1, and was evacuated by helicopter to Medina Zayed Hospital.

142.   Pablo Copetti  (ARG)

After reaching  PC1, suffered from nausea and sustained a chest injury – not serious and flown back to bivouac for treatment.

244      Zhanat Zhalimbetov / Marat Abykayev (UAE / UAE)

Before reaching PC1, vehicle crashed – co-driver Marat Abykayev flown to Medina Zayed Hospital with back injuries.

Media bulletin No.5, 800hrs, 8th April, 2013

Incidents from Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management SS1

206       Lucio Alvarez / Bernardo Graue (ARG / ARG)

Leader after SS1, Alvarez withdrew from the event overnight after his vehicle was deemed unfit to continue. It had been damaged when it rolled 2km from finish of SS1.

Media bulletin No.4, 1705hrs, 7th April, 2013

INFORMATION & COMMENTS FROM END OF SS1

204      Nani Roma / Michel Perin (ESP / FRA)

First to finish the stage. “It was a bit difficult because there were no bike tracks to follow, but apart from that it was fine.”

205       Bernhard Ten Brinke / Matthieu Baumel (NLD / FRA)

“I’m very happy. We were the first ones out so we made the first tracks for about 35 minutes. Then we were overtaken and found it much smoother after that?

220       Martin Kaczmarski / Bartlomiej Boba (POL / POL)

“It was very good, but this is my first time in the desert and I couldn’t see anything very well. The dunes were very difficult.”

203       Jean Louis Schelesser / Konstantin Zhilstov (FRA / RUS)

“We had a lot of problems with the air compressor and we had to change a tyre, so it was just a bad day.”

207      Miroslav Zapletal / Maciej Marton (CZE / POL)  

“Conditions were fine but we got stuck twice and that cost us.”

219      Leonid Ogorodnikov / Anton Nikolaev (RUS / RUS)

“It was very tough out there. The dunes were very high and we got stuck. It was hard to get up and down them.”

217       Mansour Al Helei / Ali Mirza (UAE/UAE)

“There were a lot of cars stuck in this one bowl so the only option was to crash into them or go around them. The most challenging part was avoiding getting the car stuck. It was a very tough day but I enjoyed it a lot.”

210      Yahya Alhelei / Khalid Alkendi (UAE/UAE)

“It was very difficult because I was very nervous. I have a new co-driver and this is a new partnership. I started driving very nervously and visibility was bad. You couldn’t see the ground clearly and a lot of cars were getting stuck. We also got stuck once but we drove hard over the last part and we should be doing well in the T2 class.”

214       Stephan Schott / Holm Schmidt (GER / GER)

“It’s not too difficult out there if you concentrate. There were four bowls which were difficult to navigate and if you were not concentrating you could get stuck.”

Media bulletin No.3, 1320hrs, 7th April, 2013

CARS TO START LEG 1

The cars will start a shortened Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management Special Stage1 from PC 1 at 1345hrs. The first car is expected to finish the stage at approximately 1515hrs.

Media bulletin No.2, 1235hrs, 7th April, 2013

MOTO CLASS CANCELLED FOR LEG 1

The bikes class for today’s 299 km Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management Special Stage1 has been cancelled due to strong winds and drastically reduced visibility.

A decision will be made by organisers at 1315hrs as to whether the cars class will start a shortened stage of 183km from PC1.

Media bulletin No.1, 1140hrs , 7th April, 2013

LEG 1 START DELAYED

The start of today’s 299 km Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management Special Stage1 has been delayed by the sandstorm bringing strong winds and drastically reducing visibility.

Conditions have so far not allowed the Abu Dhabi Aviation search and rescue helicopters to take off, and the rally will not start until the aircraft are airborne.

Poor visibility is also a major hazard for competitors, particularly bike and quad riders, and must improve significantly to allow the stage to be run.

The start of the stage has been witched to PC1, reducing the length of the stage to 183km.

The ATCUAE, the rally organisers, are monitoring the situation and a further announcement will be made at 1230hrs.

ATCUAE President and event founder Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “Safety is always our top priority The rally will only start when it is safe for the helicopters to take off, and for competitors to begin the stage.”