Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stage 3: Qasr Al Sarab – Qasr Al Sarab


Road connection: 88.05 km – Special stage: 256.40 km– Road connection 27.57 km – Total: 372.02 km




It was more than 40 degrees in the shadow when the two RZR Polaris Xtremeplus arrived to the overheated bivouac of Qasr Al Sarab. The special stage, of more than 250 km was, of course, on the sand, crossed a magnificent ocean of dunes. For the Xtremeplus Polaris Factory team competitors, learning was awarded with the 22 and 23 places in the stage ranking, and 18 and 19 in the overall rank.


Alle and Pietro Fogliani N°348 – 22nd of today´s stage and 18th overall. “It was awesome, and everything worked well,” said Alle at the bivouac. “We saw a number of cars trapped in the sand and in places where there was not many options cross. But, because the RZR makes crossing easy, we were able to keep going. The sand became softer with the high temperature so we had to stay much focused. At a moment, we followed a lonely trace that took us out of the race track. I don´t know who was that “opening car” but it passed through amazing places. When we realized we were getting far from the race track, we turn and went back to the traces.”


Jes Munk / Sébastien Delaunay n°347 – 23 of today´s stage and 19th overall: “Today, we did not have to change the belt… but I made a mistake and we lost 20 minutes. It´s sad because we were doing all right. I keep learning and I have learned a lot crossing the dunes. But I still make mistakes that have cost me a puncture because I hit hard after a downhill path. Slowly I am learning how to drive these 4 wheels. It´s just sad that we do not have 15 or 20 km/h more in the straight lines…”


Tomorrow, the fourth stage is the fourth loop of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. This time, it will be 378 km long.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Technical Checks: Yas Marina Club, Abu Dhabi


This morning at 8 am, the team was ready for the share down in the dunes, 60 km from Abu Dhabi so that they could verify and complete the last arrangements in the RZR. Alessandro Fogliani took the advices from Marco Piana during the past two days spent in Dubai while for Jes Munk, he received a baptism by fire.


Jes Munk / Sebastian Delaunay N°347: “I got stuck on top of a dune twice at the same place. By the third time I understood… Well, I think! – says the Danish while laughing. It is quite different crossing dunes on the bike. You have to forget some reactions of riding on two wheels and give me some time to feel more confident, which will come with the driving.

During the second lap, we had lowered the tire pressure and we lost one… This taught me a lesson! But I did have fun and I´m happy to jump into this new challenge.”


Alle Fogliani N°348: “I feel very comfortable driving the RZR, which is a machine quite easy to steer, says the young driver. Tomorrow I will go fast!”



Pietro Fogliani N° 348: “The driver is reliable and has a fair instinct and the RZR is the ideal machine to have fun in the sand. The goal now to have the Mini eating some sand, says the father with a smile.”


After this first laps, the two Xtremeplus Polaris Factory Team crews completed the technical checks.

Tomorrow they will go for the Super Special that will give the starting order of the first stage on Sunday.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Administrative checks: Yas marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi

The sky is covered but temperatures reache 35° Celcius in Abu Dhabi for the first day of scrutineering before the start of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.


In the paddock of the Yas Marina Circuit, we start feeling the heat while the service teams take care of the last details. At the Polaris Xtremeplus Team, the mechanics start adjusting the seats and steer wheels of two RZR, a blue and a red one for the two “rookies” of this class: Pietro and Ale Fogliani and Jes Munk, with Sebastien Delaunay as his co-driver. The Danish returns to cross country rally after being badly hurt in a bike accident two years ago … but this time on four wheels!


Jes Munk / Sebastian Delaunay N°347: “ It´s a pleasure for me to see my old rally buddies again, and they have all given me a warm welcome, tells Jes. I discover the RZR which is quite different than the one I have at home… it has buttons everywhere, and Sebastian tries to explain, but I think that there will be some work before I remember everything, says while laughing. I am a bit old and I can´t wait to start, and to be back in the dunes!”


Pietro Fogliani N°348: It´s been six years since the Italian was not face to face with the desert, but the call from cross country rally is irresistible, so after having spent many races in the truck with Marco Piana, owner of Xtremeplus Polaris Factory Team, he has also participated in the Dakar 2009 on a quad. Tomorrow, Pietro will be steering the RZR in the start of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. “I have never driven an RZR, tells Pietro with a hidden smile, and I just arrived this morning. It´s a beautiful machine, simple and smartly developed to go on the sand.”


Ale Fogliani N° 348: Ale is 19 yrs. Old and discovers a new world in his first rally raid race. “I have raced in mini-cross and scooter, but never on a car… and even less on the sand! I had the opportunity to test the RZR with Marco in Dubai a couple of days ago and I really liked it! Now we will see… There is a lot to learn!”


Tomorrow, the RZR Polaris Xtremeplus crews will go for their first tours before completing the technical scrutineering and leave their machines in the Parc Fermé until the start of the race.