Team HRC overcomes various setbacks to make it through the first day of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with Paulo Gonçalves and Ricky Brabec finishing the special among the front-runners in third and fifth respectively.
The asphalt of the Yas Marina circuit in the pre-rally build-up has given way to the sands of the Al Garbia region in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Riders were today confronted with a 260 kilometre timed special in high-temperature first stage that spanned a total of 404 kilometres.
Rally raid’s top guns let it be known from the start that the flavour of the day was all-out attack. Team HRC, with Joan Barreda at the helm, immediately took command, arriving at refuelling in top positions.
Spaniard Barreda had the misfortune to suffer an electrical fault some 40 km from the finish and dropped valuable time before getting the Honda CRF450 RALLY back on track and finishing the special.
Paulo Gonçalves, stopped briefly to lend a hand and sort out the glitch, conceding some time to his adversaries in the process, which he will hope to make up in tomorrow’s lengthy stage.
American rookie Ricky Brabec, in his maiden outing in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, found himself amid top-class competition and put in a worthy debut astride the Honda CRF450 RALLY.
Tomorrow the Liwa Desert will offer the longest stage in the competition with competitors looking to tackle more than 500 kilometres of desert, 279 km of which is against the clock. Start will be as motocross style.
Results Stage 1
|1||Coma Marc||SPA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||3:12:54|
|2||Sunderland Sam||3||GBR||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+1'21|
|3||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Team HRC||Honda||+5'33|
|4||Faria Ruben||8||POR||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+11'07|
|5||Brabec Ricky||USA||Team HRC||Honda||+11'54|
|6||Walkner Matthias||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+13'59|
|7||Al Balooshi Mohammed||UAE||Balooshi Racing KTM UAE||KTM||+14'10|
|8||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||KTM Warsaw Rally Team||KTM||+15'58|
|10||Salvatierra Juan Carlos||BOL||KTM Warsaw Rally Team||KTM||+24'28|
|21||Barreda Joan||SPA||Team HRC||Honda||+1:06'13|
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… read more.
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