CC Malysz and Marton leap into FIA World Cup contention with second in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 3

April 5-10, 2014

For immediate release
Thursday, April 10th, 2014


· Seventh place for Toyota’s Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor
· Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin reach finish in ninth overall

ABU DHABI (UAE): Overdrive Racing’s Adam Malysz and Rafal Marton finished second overall in the gruelling Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the third round of the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies and the first of the long-distance marathon-type events, at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

The Team Orlen Toyota Hilux crew finished as runners-up behind the Russian event winner and new unofficial joint FIA World Cup leader Vladimir Vasilyev and lifted themselves into a strong position to challenge for the FIA World Cup crown.

Fellow Poles Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor held second overall for long periods, but they rolled the second Team Orlen Toyota Hilux on the penultimate selective section through the remote Arabian desert on Wednesday and finished in seventh overall.

The Brazilian duo of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin reached the finish in the UAE’s commercial capital in ninth position with the third Overdrive Toyota and the Kazakh duo of Bauychan Issabayev and Vladimir Demyanenko were eighth in the Team Astana car.

“This is one of the most difficult rallies of the year and a true test for all the team,” said Overdrive team director Jean-Marc Fortin. “I am delighted that Adam finished in second position and that has moved him into contention for the FIA World Cup as we head to Qatar in a couple of weeks.”

The first of the longer desert selective sections was sponsored by the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and the Overdrive trio of Dabrowski Varela and Malysz settled into second, fifth and sixth positions, with the stage win falling to Spain’s Joan Roma, the winner of the 2014 Dakar Rally.

Russian driver Vladimir Vasilyev grabbed a 44-second outright lead on the first of three demanding desert loop stages through the UAE Empty Quarter or Rub Al-Khali last Monday. Roma lost three hours receiving medical attention for motion sickness in the intense heat, but it was another successful day for Overdrive Racing on the 269km stage.

Dabrowski and Malysz climbed to second and third overall with the second and fourth quickest times. Varela lost over two hours with technical problems and Issabayev held 10th in the Team Astana Toyota after setting the seventh quickest time.

The second loop stage around the Qasr Al-Sareb bivouac ran for 256km through the UAE dunes and Vasilyev again won the stage to extend his advantage over Dabrowski to 9min 48sec.

“I got dug into the sand twice on the stage,” admitted the second-placed Pole. “I don’t know why, but I lost concentration. It is a very tough race and it is not easy to push all the time. After getting stuck, I decided to push less.”

Malysz recorded the second quickest time and edged further clear of the fourth-placed Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal. Varela was ninth and climbed back to 13th position, while Issabayev moved into ninth overall.

The penultimate 239km stage and the last of the loops through the dunes around the bivouac and Vasilyev extended his advantage to 35min 36sec heading into the final stage. The win fell to Aidyn Rakhimbayev, but Dabrowski ceded his second position in the overall standings to Overdrive Team Orlen team mate Malysz after rolling his Toyota. It landed back on its wheels, but the Pole lost 1hr 45min, slipped from second to seventh overall. Issabayev and Varela held eighth and 10th.

The final 244km selective section finished at Razeen and preceded the finish podium at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and there were no further dramas for the Overdrive crews, on a stage where Vasilyev confirmed the outright win and Malysz took second overall.

The 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies resumes with the Sealine Cross-Country Rally in Qatar on April 19-25.

2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – final positions (provisional)
1. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 17hr 10min 19sec
2. Adam Malysz (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux 17hr 58min 14sec
3. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Maciej Marton (POL) H3 18hr 29min 58sec
4. Yayha Al-Helai (ARE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (ARE) Nissan Pick-Up 18hr 29min 06sec
5. Stephane Schott (DEU)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing 18hr 43min 56sec
6. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Rosegaar (NLD) Mini All4 Racing 19hr 07min 51sec
7. Marek Dabrowski (POL)/Jacek Czachor (POL) Toyota Hilux 19hr 23min 48sec
8. Bauychen Issabayev (KAZ)/Vladimir Demyanenko (KAZ) Toyota Hilux 19hr 39min 08sec
9. Reinaldo Varela (BRA)/Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) Toyota Hilux 20hr 44min 14sec


For further information: contact Jean-Marc Fortin (E-mail: jmf@overdriveracing.be), Overdrive S.A., rue de la métallurgie 37, 4530 Villers-le-Bouillet, Belgium, Tel: + 32 475 762 391. www.overdriveracing.be - Facebook group: Overdrive Racing


Date issued: 10/04/2014

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