2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Back With Established And Emerging Talent

Carprices Team / Posted On - March 4th 2023

Previously held in 2022,  The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) is back with a strong line-up of more than 150 international competitors. As teams from around the globe are arriving in the UAE capital to begin preparations for the eagerly awaited showdown from 25 February to 3 March.
The participant list for the Desert Challenge has grown by nearly 35 per cent compared to last year, as known talent was persuaded to return, and young potential was urged to participate in what is now the second round in the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC).
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge over the years has seen many of the big names in international motorsport conquer the dunes of the UAE, including Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae, Ari Vatenan, and Heinz Kinigadner. The Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO) organisers of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, have released the final entry list for 2023, with expectations high for another thrilling battle in the Desert Challenge, presented by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

Top contenders in the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Defending W2RC Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah will enter the Desert Challenge under pressure, sitting two points behind Sébastien Loeb in the standings, on the third is Guerlain Chicherit, who won two stages in the Dakar Rally which opened the 2023 championship.
On the bikes. Sam Sunderland, will chase down his fourth ADDC victory, take on championship leader Kevin Benavides, and current runner-up Toby Price, who was also the 2016 winner in Abu Dhabi.
Winners of the 2022 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and FIM Bajas World Cup, Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Konrad Dabrowski, will also be participating in the Desert Challenge.
Alongside these familiar faces, there will be new talent at this year’s ADDC, as the sport of cross-country rallying attracts competitors from all over the globe to the UAE.
Chinese manufacturer BAIC will also take part in the Desert Challenge for the first time, with their drivers Yungang Zi, Yunliang Zi and Guoyu Zhang pushing themselves to the limit in the deserts of Abu Dhabi. Also hailing from China, Tian Po and Han Wei will be racing for the Hanwei motorsport team, while Japanese driver Shinsuke Umeda and rider Yoshio Ikemachi will represent more exciting talent from the far East.
The increase in participation in the ADDC is a result of years of work and demonstrates the success of the rally's new format as part of the World Rally-Raid Championship, guided under the authority of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
Read our next article on the Stage 1 of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

A word from the Event Officials

H.E. Aref Al Awani, Secretary General of the ADSC, said, “We appreciate the pioneering role of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafra Region, and his generous sponsorship of this 32nd edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The event comes as an extension of Abu Dhabi's pioneering efforts in hosting elite international sporting events, and the wider mission to become the ideal destination for the best athletes in the world".
He added, “We, in the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, attach great importance to harnessing all the capabilities and elements of success for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The event has attracted a group of promising drivers and riders from all over the world and promises to highlight the desert terrain in the Al Dhafra region - which provides a different and challenging driving experience. We are confident in the success of the upcoming edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, with the concerted efforts and expertise of the EMSO and all the supporters, sponsors, and partners from governmental and private institutions.”
Khalid Bin Sulayem, the EMSO’s President, commented, “We’re excited to be welcoming the World Rally-Raid Championship back to the UAE for a second time. The EMSO continues to work hard to build upon the 32-year history of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in an innovative and sustainable way, and we could not do this without our collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Our long-term partnership with the Sports Council extends beyond our work on the Desert Challenge, and embodies the progress we are making towards a strong future for our local community that is centred around sporting events.”



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