The action returns once more as we bid farewell to silly season. It will be sand, dunes and competition galore as the first race of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship – the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – fires up this weekend and Team HRC will be right there in the fray.
Team HRC have now put the Dakar Rally escapade behind them and this weekend it will be all sights set on the next adventure, as the Emirate of Abu Dhabi looms on the horizon, signalling the first date of a new world championship.
Paulo Gonçalves holds particularly fond memories of the event, having had his name and that of Honda etched into the winners list for the first time in last year’s edition.
Likewise, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will serve as a crucial test to scout for promising new talent who might one day make up the Team HRC ranks. The squad will thus line up stalwarts Paulo Gonçalves and Joan Barreda alongside youngster Ricky Brabec, who gets to savour the Honda CRF450 RALLY for the first time. Team HRC has signed up Brabec for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge to weigh up whether the American could slot into the outfit at a future date. Last year Ricky Brabec triumphed in the AMA Hare & Hound 2014 Championship, in addition to winning the San Felipe 250, Baja 500 and Baja 1000.
The rally will consist of a short Super Special on the afternoon of Saturday March 28, to be followed by five stages out in the Liwa desert to the south of the country’s capital, made up mainly of lengthy stretches of dunes. In total, 2,091.78 kilometres and, of these, 1,306.27 km special stage.
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
|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)|