Results Of 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Meet The Winners!
The last leg of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge proves that the final outcome remains uncertain until the last stretch of the open desert.
The 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge which is the second round of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, has concluded. The last stage was filled with spectacular and thrilling moments, demanding challenges and unexpected twists. The 2023 season has been one of the safest ADDCs on record with only a small number of medical interventions.
Illegal fitments found in Two Cars at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
After Stage 4, which was delayed by two hours and shortened due to foggy weather, the stewards discovered that Red Bull Can-Am Factory’s Cristina Gutierrez Herrero had violated the regulations of the event, as Her car was fitted with an air restrictor that was wider than the permitted size. This resulted in a time penalty of 24 hours per stage.
The same thing happened with Dania Akeel of South Racing Can-Am at the end of the final stage, it was discovered that her car had also used an illegal air restrictor and she was consequently disqualified.
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023 Stage 5 Highlights
The fifth and final stage was the ultimate thriller, it proved that nothing is decided in the ADDC until the last stretch of open desert. Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage 5 consisted of 206 kilometres of special stage and 164 kilometres of liaison, making the stage 370 kilometres long. Right from the start, it headed into a spectacular and challenging dune section, which was followed by a mix of open desert and sharp ridges that were both challenging and stunning to watch.
The route then featured a tricky dune segment which lead to an unreal colour shift of the sand from orange to white. This white sand was significantly softer and presented a major technical obstacle for the participants, marking the last significant challenge before the home stretch. The final part of the stage was a thrilling run over the vast open desert, leading to the finish line.
In T1 Stage 5, Henk Lategan won first place with Sebastian Loeb in second and Halpern in third. In T3 Stage 5, Seth Quintero, who was secont in stage 4, conquered the last stage ahead of Austin Jones. Mitchell Guthrie took the third podium spot. In T4 Stage 5, Rocas Baciuska took the stage win with Local hero Mansour Al Helei behind him in second, followed by Pau Navarro in third.
In the Rally GP Stage 5, Red bull KTM factory racing’s Toby Price headed for the stage victory followed by Ignacio Cornejo in second place and Skylar howes in third place. Ross Branch completed the stage in fourth place and stood fifth in overall rankings. In Rally2 Stage 5, Tobias Ebster took the stage win with Paolo Lucci in second and Jean-Luc Lepan in third place.
In Quad Stage 5, Local hero Abdulaziz Ahli of the Abu Dhabi Team took first place overall for his third successive title. He came home ahead of Laisvydas Kansius in second and Antanas Kanopkinas in third position.
2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Overall Race Results
In T1, Yazeed Al Rajhi started the 5th stage 10 min 27 seconds ahead of Martin Prokop in the overall standings, and went on to win the overall race, bringing Toyota its third victory here after wins in 2016 and 2021.
In Rally GP, Adrien Van Beveren dominated the later stages of the race to take the RallyGP category win, his second since joining Honda, despite only taking fifth place in Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage 5. Luciano Benavides took second overall and Toby Price was third.
1. Yazeed Al Rajhi – 16:28:06
2. Martin Prokop – +32:57
3. Juan Cruz Yacopini – +32:57
1. Seb Quintero – 16:58:31
2. Austin Jones – +27:45
3. Hernan Garces Echevarria – +56:28
1. Rocas Baciuska – 17:25:47
2. Mansour Al Helei – +12:03
3. Pau Navarro – +26:00
1. Adrien Van Beveren -17:13:39
2. Lorenzo Benvaides – +04:18
3. Toby Price – +05:13
1. Tobias Ebster – 18:41:50
2. Jean-Luc Lepan – +02:37
3. Paolo Lucci – +11:02
1. Abdulaziz Ahli – 22:01:51
2. Laisvydas Kancius – +01:05:42
3. Adomas Gancierius – +05:00:26
A word from the Officials
President of the FIA Medical Commission and former CMO of EMSO, Sean Petherbridge, said, “There were seven incidents, with three requiring evacuation by helicopter, and the others presented themselves to the medical team on arrival at the finish. It’s been a safe event overall, and we’ve seen a lower number of incidents than in previous, years which is a reflection of the high quality of the competitors in this race. Also, the weather has been slightly cooler than usual, which has helped in terms of drivers and riders needing to stay well-hydrated. This is really important in the latter stages of each stage and the later part of the race when fatigue is an important factor. I also would like to add that the work of the medical team and the presence of the helicopters and the National Ambulance Service is particularly important when it comes to speedy and efficient intervention. Being able to get to competitors quickly is hugely important in terms of guaranteeing the well-being of all involved.”
Emirates Motor Sports Organisation (EMSO) President, H.E. Khalid Ben Sulayem, commented, “The second world championship edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) has been a thrilling journey for everyone concerned, Whether you were here as a competitor, as part of the organisation, or as a spectator, the 2023 edition of the ADDC will remain in our memories for a long time. The combination of skill, action, drama, bravery and good sporting spirit has marked this year out as an important one in the growth and global awareness of this phenomenal event. We are so proud of everyone who made it happen. We also extend our respectful thanks to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafrah Region for their support, hospitality and generosity in making this race such a success.”
During the race, Abu Dhabi Aviation provided air support for the ADDC. H.E. Nadir Al Hammadi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Aviation, said, “Our everyday mission is to oversee aviation safety, security and the environment, as well as facilitate air connectivity for the general public and the civil aviation industry. So, of course, being a partner with EMSO for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is very important to us, because it offers us a very different scenario where we get to show another side of our strengths and abilities, and reinforces everything we stand for. This is such a tough race in a truly extreme and unforgiving environment, that it validates our role and our partnership with EMSO.”