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World stars shine In Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge opening

04/04/2011
Two of the world’s leading racers laid down the gauntlet during the opening leg of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, as France’s Stéphane Peterhansel and Spain’s Marc Coma dominated their respective car and bike categories.
 
Driving his Mini All4 Racing car for Team X-Raid, Peterhansel managed to complete the opening 290km of the Challenge 7m 16s ahead of teammate and closest rival Leonid Novitskiy.
 
The first stage, named Al Gharbia after the Western Region province where the dune-based rally is held, kicked off from Al Dafrah, on the edge of Abu Dhabi at 9am. From there, 101 drivers and riders from 30 nations powered out into the vast desert - the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the Middle East - before finishing at the all-new bivouac adjacent to the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.   
 
In the bikes category, Coma proved that he is as a formidable a competitor as ever by coming home after just 1h 27m 55s on his factory KTM 450. He rounded off an excellent opening day for KTM, which saw three bikes finish in the top five.

In the bikes category, Coma proved that he is as a formidable a competitor as ever by coming home after just 1h 27m 55s on his factory KTM 450. He rounded off an excellent opening day for KTM, which saw three bikes finish in the top five.
 
In the quads category, it was the UAE’s Atif Al Zarouni who crossed the line first, beating closest rival, Luis Henderson of Uruguay, by four minutes. Briton Nicholas Black rounded off the quads top three, clocking a time of 2h 3m on his Yamaha Raptor.  
 
As always, the trucks category provided a great deal of excitement, with Andrey Karginov completing the first leg in his 12-tonne Kamaz truck in just 5h 27m – faster than a number of cars.

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