Monster Energy Honda Team is ruling in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023! After the prologue win, Chilean Pablo Quintanilla was today once again the fastest rider on Stage one. His teammate Adrien Van Beveren kept his second place, while José Ignacio Cornejo improved his performance finishing in fourth place and Ricky Brabec was 6th overall.

Going into the depths of the Empty Quarter, Stage 1 connected the city of Al Dhannah and Qasr Al Sarab with a total of 404 kilometers. The Special Stage was 242 km long, added by a liaison of another 162 km. Dunes and sandy tracks made the day, a terrain that meets the profile of Honda riders in a perfect way since all of them are desert specialists.

Tomorrow Stage 2 will keep the competition in the same region, with a 257 kilometers tour around Qasr Al Sarab – added by a liaison of 108 km. The action takes place on the depths of the Empty  Quarter, with sandy tracks and huge dunes to overcome. For the Monster Energy Honda Team the challenge will be simple: to keep the lead in a day that Pablo Quintanilla and Adrien Van Beveren will open the track.

Ruben Faria

General Manager

“After the prologue win of yesterday we were able to start from behind and this is very important in a race like the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Pablo did a good job once again and won the stage. Adrien followed Pablo along the stage while Nacho was riding together with Skyler all day. Ricky was not on the bonus points, since he was not among the first three, but anyway he did a consistent performance. We are leading individually and also as a team and this is very important. Tomorrow is another day so let’s keep the focus. We know Pablo and Adrien will have a hard day opening the stage, hopefully they can benefit from the bonus. Nacho and Ricky can improve their position since they don’t have this pressure. ”

Pablo Quintanilla 7

“This was a great stage for me, since I was able to find a good pace from the beginning. The terrain was not easy, with many drops in the dunes and some fast parts difficult to see. Everything went well with me and my Honda CRF 450 Rally. I could get the right balance between speed and navigation. Winning the prologue and the first stage means we have started the race on the right foot so let's continue that way!”

Adrien Van Beveren 42

“Everything went well today, it was a good day in the dunes. The terrain was hard with a lot of broken dunes and valleys, not so easy to find the rhythm. I am happy and Pablo was with me until the end and we could ride fast together. So far the result is good but we have to stay focused knowing there are four more stages to race. ”

José Ignacio “Nacho” Cornejo 11

“It was a good first stage! We started third and that was a risk, then I could reach Skyler Howes and manage to keep racing all the way with him. I think I did a good job, got some bonus and overall it was a solid performance. Now I am motivated and strong for tomorrow, willing to improve my position in the overall ranking. ”

Ricky Brabec 9

“I am happy to finish another stage. I definitely felt better than the result showed today. I was a little bit sore today, we battled the wind most of the day and that was hard for the body. Anyway I am here to fight and do my best until the last day”.

2023 World Rally Raid Championship
Stage Round WORLD2   Abu Dhabi

Provisional Standings Stage 1

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Quintanilla Pablo 7 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:40:15
2 Van Beveren Adrien 42 FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:42:31
3 Price Toby 18 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 3:45:32
4 Evan Branch Ross 16 BWA Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero 3:45:35
5 Cornejo José Ignacio "Nacho" 11 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:47:51
6 Brabec Ricky 9 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:48:29
7 Benavides Luciano 77 ARG Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna 3:49:07
8 Howes Skyler 10 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:49:45
9 Klein Mason 43 USA BAS World KTM Racing Team KTM 3:53:49
10 Lucci Paolo 46 ITA BAS World KTM Racing Team KTM 4:03:19
Location Information

The legendary UAE Desert Challenge, one of the world’s most prestigious international cross country rallies founded by Emirati Motorsport legend, former EMSO President and the new FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem back in 1991, and over the years has seen many of the biggest names in international motorsport tackle the… read more.

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates - View in Google Maps

Records

2021 Matthias Walkner (KTM)
2019 Sam Sunderland (KTM)
2018 Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna)
2017 Sam Sunderland (KTM)
2016 Toby Price (KTM)
2015 Marc Coma (KTM)
2014 Paulo Gonçalves (Honda)