The erstwhile UAE Desert Challenge, one of the world’s most prestigious international cross country rallies, entered a new era in March 2009 when it was renamed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with the five-day motor sport spectacular being staged in its entirety across Abu Dhabi emirate under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), with the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) retaining its event organisational role.

Originally the last round of both the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship and the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, in 2014, the Desert Challenge will be the season-opening round for the FIM World Championship and round 3 of the FIA World Cup, and is, over the years, expected to further strengthen Abu Dhabi’s credentials as a tourism destination of distinction and major sporting events hub.

While previous Desert Challenges have seen motorbike, quad-bike, four wheel and truck competitors battle cross-emirate stages, the event in recent years has gradually migrated towards a majority routing through Abu Dhabi’s majestic desert areas.

During the Challenge, competitors face two days of documentation and scrutinising (usually on a Friday and Saturday), before a Super Special Stage (on a Sunday) which decides the starting order. Competitors then brave the Liwa Desert and the Moreeb area of the Empty Quarter for five days.

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2017 Cross-Country Rallies Stage, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2017
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2015 Cross Countries Rally Stage, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
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2014 Cross Countries Rally Stage, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
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