I must admit I thought the R was also discontinued, although I couldn't find any mention of it on Steven Gandy's cameraquest site. It's been a while since I was on the CVUG mailing list, but I'm sure that one of the main reasons why the R2 was retired was because the shutter mechansim was discontinued by the manufacturer. This forced an update on CV. (I also thought the same shutter was used in the R which is why I believed it too was discontinued).
Don't let the lack of an R2 put your friend off. The R2a looks even better.