Abu Dhabi Motorsport Rally Team To Represent Best Of UAE In Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
The newly formed Abu Dhabi Rally team to challenge competitors from around the world in the 32nd edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in UAE.
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) continues to become more interesting as the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) gets ready for round 2nd of its second season.
For the first time ever, a new motorsports rally team from Abu Dhabi has entered the Desert Challenge to represent the UAE internationally in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The Abu Dhabi Team presents a strong line-up of Emirati athletes, who are highly skilled in their respective categories and have joined forces to conquer their home territory.
The team is sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council as part of its continuous efforts to establish an environment that emphasizes the significance of engaging in sports and developing sports initiatives for all members of society.
Abu Dhabi Rally Team participants in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, who is the first-ever Emirati to win Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in 2017, will be participating in the T1 class. And Mansour Al-Helei who was also the 2015 ADDC T2 winner, will be competing in T4.
Mohammed Al-Balooshi stands out amongst the thirty bikes as he is presently leading the FIM Baja World Cup points race following his victory in the opening round held in Saudi Arabia. Sultan Al Balooshi completes The Abu Dhabi Team lineup in the bikes competing in Rally 2.
Only five quad riders from this year’s Desert Challenge have signed up for the W2RC, with Abdulaziz Ahli heading the pack as he attempts to win a hat-trick after winning the previous two ADDC competitions.
Another prominent UAE national competitor, Yahya Al-Helei has entered as an independent contestant on a Nissan Pickup in T1 and plans to continue his record-breaking run and plans to keep breaking records as the only driver to have participated in each and every Desert Challenge since the event’s start in 1991. He is also the father of Mansour Al-Helei, making the Al-Heleis one of the UAE’s best-known names in the world of Rally-Raid.
More about the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
The rally is presented by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and organised by the Emirates Motorsport Organisation (EMSO). The competition began on February 26th with a Prologue and lasts until March 3rd as the competitors compete across 1,311 kilometres of Special Stages amid breathtaking dunes.
30 FIA Priority Crews along with 25 riders on bikes and quads will be competing in the second round of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC). A total of 109 competitors from around the world, including these 55 participants along with twenty-one non-championship entrants participating in FIA classes and thirty-three in FIM, are eyeing the win among the stunning dunes of the Al Dhafra region.
The 32nd edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge has a new host – Al Dhannah City came forward as the Prologue for all categories on Sunday, with five-time Dakar winner JP Cottret in charge of the opening.
Stage 1 in Al Dhafra Region, began without formalities because the second-longest stage (405 km), which begins in Ghiyathi City and ends in Tal Mor’eb, will be highly demanding. The next three stages are made up of soft sands in Qasr Al Sarab and are familiar to many of the competitors as they pass through there.
Stage 2 (ADNOC Distribution) and Stage 3 (Abu Dhabi 360) will include the traditional marathon stages for bikes and quads. Stage 4 (Al-Futtaim Toyota) is the rally’s longest stage at 458km, where the participants will encounter mountain crossings, steep descents, and abrupt climbs.
Stage 5, the Abu Dhabi Aviation leg, will travel north and put all competitors to the test with a special stage that delivers more speed and flat tracks, thickening the plot as the race comes to an end.
The Energy Partner ADNOC Distribution will supply the Super 98 premium fuel to the cars, bikes and quads participating in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge across these five challenging stages, ADNOC Distribution’s support also includes the setting of refuelling points for competitors with the use of advanced MyStation trucks in the most remote corners of the Empty Quarter ensuring engines maintain peak performance.
Read our article on the Stage 1 of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
A word from the Officials
Khalid Bin Sulayem, the President of EMSO said, “Last year marked a really exciting start to the World-Rally Raid Championship, and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge played a big role in that success. This time we’re looking to bring even more of what the UAE has to offer to the championship, and part of that comes in the form of this exciting Abu Dhabi Team. We’ve brought the racing even closer to the fans for this 32nd edition of the Desert Challenge, with HQ set up in the heart of Abu Dhabi, meaning the home crowd will be up close and personal with this exciting UAE talent.”
Bader Saeed Al Lamki, the CEO of ADNOC Distribution said, “Our partnership with The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge integrates perfectly with our business strategy and passion for all kinds of rewarding journeys. As the official Energy Partner, we look forward to supporting the contenders with our world-class range of products and services throughout this exhilarating route. We are excited to provide the ultimate protection for the racers’ engines and help them at all stages to push their performance again this year.”