Stage 3 Results And Highlights – 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Team / Posted On - March 4th 2023

The third day of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023 (ADDC) turned out to be highly strenuous, as it was yet another extremely technical stage. A lot of action was witnessed during Stage 3, which was 303 kilometres in total, out of which 230 kilometres were in the dunes.
Almost 35 per cent of the bike riders failed to finish the first three stages of the rally, with two quitting the competition completely. In the cars category, so far 25 per cent have failed to finish all the stages. The current Regulation of ADDC says, stage retirees in Rally GP cannot return the next day, whereas the cars can, but with time penalties.

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023 Stage 3 Highlights

3rd Stage of Abu Dhabi 360 began with some difficult and tough dunes at the start and moved towards the wide-open desert for some really difficult and highly demanding ridge crossings. The route was quite difficult until the Refuel Station at the Al Fathiyeh intersection from where it went westward onto the more demanding dunes, before entering the wide-open desert and a series of ridge crossings.
Stage 3 also experienced a cloudy sky which made the crests of the dunes almost invisible and made it hard for the participants to find their path. After the participants encountered a notoriously tricky slip-face alley, followed by a run to the finish line, located north of Hameem. The terrain was 52 per cent dunes and 48 per cent sand.
The third stage of ADDC was so fierce that the T1 category and double-stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah badly damaged his car, and could be out of this year’s ADDC. In unusually mild conditions with temperatures in the mid-20s, Nasser Al Attiyah arrived at the finish line with severe damage to his Toyota Hilux. The Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux driven by Al Attiyah flipped over, badly damaging its roll cage and the windscreen. Despite all that drama, Attiyah still kept the lead of the race and finished in first position. He didn’t talk to the media and left immediately. Unofficially it seems his race is done, but the team will work overnight to try to repair the vehicle, the suspense will continue until tomorrow’s start.
Sebastian Loeb was able to reduce the gap to 48 seconds and secured second place, and non-championship driver Henk Lategan finished the stage in third place. Yazeed Al Rajhi, who finished stage 2 in second place yesterday was fourth.
In T3, Mattias Ekström, who failed to complete stage 1 as he ran out of fuel, suffered a broken engine at PK66 and was unable to continue his attempt to cover the lost time. The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA, however, had a fantastic day as they took all the top 3 spots.
In T4, reigning world champion Rokas Baciuska from Red Bull Can-Am Factory finished first, behind him was the local hero Emirati Mansour Al Helei from the Abu Dhabi Team who got second place, and Pau Navarro (F N Speed) was in third.
In the bike RallyGP, Red Bull KTM factory racing's Toby Price took the stage win as Pablo Quintanilla dropped down to second place because of a 2-minute speeding penalty, Benavides completed the stage in eighth place today and Cornejo, Branch and Howes, who were all placed in the Top 10, remain in the mix for a podium place. In the Quad Bikes, Abdulaziz Ahli still dominates the category ahead of Kancius and Guillioli.
Sébastien Loeb, who was previously considered out of the running for the World Rally Raid Championship, might gain a few points if he completes the upcoming two days. Al Attiyah might have to give up, in which case he wouldn't score in the second race. Chicherit had already withdrawn, allowing the pursuing three to come up and score points. The outcome of the championship will change if Attiyah withdraws. Fans will undoubtedly be thrilled by this development.
A real thunderclap hit the World Rally-Raid Championship today. Sébastien Loeb, who was already considered to be out of contention for the championship in round 2, could finally make a more positive move at the ADDC if he makes it through the next two days. Although he will be out of the fight for the top spots in the race, the Frenchman will continue to collect points on a daily basis. Official Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Al Attiyah may have to retire, and if so, would not score any points in the second race. Guerlain Chicherit, third in the general standings, has already withdrawn, so it is the leading trio’s pursuers who could take advantage of the situation to pull back some points.
Al Attiyah had such a large lead that his withdrawal would completely shake up the FIA championship. This situation is sure to create excitement and anticipation among the rally fans around the world as the competition continues to get intense.
Read our article on Stage 4 of 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

T1 Stage 3 Winners

1. Nasser Al Attiyah - 03:51:45
2. Sebastian Loeb - +00:48
3. Henk Lategan - +6:59

T3 Stage 3 Winners

1. Mitchell Guthrie - 4:06:33
2. Cristina Gutierrez Herrero - +0.19
3. Seth Quintero - +3:03

T4 Stage 3 Winners

1. Rocas Baciuska - 4:08:58
2. Mansour Al Helei - +04.53
3. Pau Navarro - +08.47

RallyGP Stage 3 Winners

1. Toby Price - 03:43.29
2. Pablo Quintanilla - + 00:16
3. Skyler Howes - + 00.19

Rally2 Stage 3 Winners

1. Paolo Lucci - 03:51:22
2. Jean-Luc Lepan - +06:37
3. Tobias Ebster - + 08:37

Quad Stage 3 Winners

1. Abdulaziz Ahli - 04:48:57
2. Laisvydas Kansius - + 02:00
3. Rodolfo Guillioli - +03:24:03

A word from the Participants of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Pablo Quintanilla admitted that he’d pushed hard all day, He said, “I felt good and strong, the bike felt good, and when the bike feels like that it gives you a lot of confidence, so I pushed hard and it worked out pretty well.”
Sebastian Loeb found the stage difficult, He said, “Yeah, it was tricky, in some places it was really extreme and I hit my head (points to the left side of his head). But I think it was okay, the stages are a bit different than what we saw in the Dakar, more twisty, slower in the dunes, so a little bit more difficult for me but the feeling was good.”
Mansour Al Helei was happy with his day and said, “This was a very nice stage for us. We started immediately with an electric problem, and my car was slow but it fixed itself, then we went on and we floored it. I still don’t know what our position is, but today I gave it my best. My navigator is new, but he’s learning every day and it’s better and better, and we take care of the car.”

A word from the Officials

H.E. Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said, “The race has been every bit as exciting and challenging as we hoped it would be, and it confirms our broader aim of making Abu Dhabi the perfect destination for sporting events featuring the world’s best drivers and athletes. The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) with its 32-year history, is firmly established as one of the world’s foremost motorsport events, and we look forward to seeing how this year’s edition develops over the final two stages. We wish to extend our thanks to all our partners for their efforts, hospitality and generosity, which have resulted in a unique race that all Emiratis can be proud of.”
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA President and founder of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, commented, “The stage was 230 kilometres in the dunes of the Empty Quarter, a historic place for all Emiratis. But 230 kilometres here is equal to 7 or 800 in the old version of the Dakar Rally, simply because of the considerable challenges of the terrain and the fatigue inflicted on the machines, the riders, the drivers and co-drivers, also the engineers and teams, and the whole organisation. Now that we have the new promoter, I’m optimistic that the ADDC will see real growth in its global profile, because having started it, I’m attached to it and want to see it grow. In the past, the FIA was slow to accept new events, but now we will be making it much easier for new events to be included in the championship. That’s partly down to the quality of modern manufacturing resulting in cars that can handle this level of challenge, but also the fact that having more championship events is appealing to manufacturers and to the countries that host them.”
H.E. Khalid Ben Sulayem, Emirates Motor Sports Organisation (EMSO) President and board member said, “It was such an honour to receive his excellency Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA President and founder of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge at the race yesterday. We know what a very busy person he is and the fact that he found the time for us was a mark of his love of this event, and it made an already exceptional edition of the ADDC even better. I would also extend our gratitude to H.E. Aref Al Awani and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for putting together The Abu Dhabi Team in line with their community support initiative.”

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