All Monster Energy Honda Team riders are doing a great job at this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge! True specialists in the sand, they are leading the way in the demanding tracks of the Empty Quarter. The results from today’s stage 2 – Qasr Al Sarab – confirm this scenario, with some changes in the overall standings.

Adrien Van Beveren is the new leader and Pablo Quintanilla is second just one minute and 30 seconds away. They both had today the hard mission to open the track, doing a great performance that was key to keep the team’s dominance. Van Beveren was 5th with a 3 minutes and 9 seconds gap for the leader of the stage, while Quintanilla was 9th with a 6 minutes and 55 seconds delay. José Ignacio Cornejo was the fastest among the team, with a second place with  just a gap of one minute and 17 seconds. Ricky Brabec is also showing signs of a good recovery from his Dakar crash and was today the fourth fastest rider.

Tomorrow’s Stage 3 will keep the same competitive scheme, with another tour around Qasr Al Sarab and many dunes and sand to race in the depths of the Empty Quarter. Special stage will be 266 kilometers long – added by a liaison of 37 km. This is a very demanding challenge for all riders, since they are racing in marathon mode – meaning they can’t count on the assistance and back up from the team.

Ruben Faria

General Manager

“All our riders are doing a great job and the same thing goes to our Honda CRF 450 Rally. It is great to see how all of them are riding safe and fast in this demanding terrain. Now Adrien is the overall leader and Pablo is just around the corner, but we still have a long way to go so we have to keep the focus and keep the same spirit everyday.”

Private: José Ignacio “Nacho” Cornejo 11

“It was a good stage today with another solid ride. I did my best to reach all the guys in front, that was not easy but I was able to make it. So I had a good day, felt good on the bike and I am happy with the results. I also have a good position for tomorrow and will fight for the bonus and keep battling until the end. ”

Ricky Brabec 9

“Stage two was good, I felt good all day and made a good push. Unfortunately at the very end I made a stupid mistake and it took me like a minute to get going again. I crashed on a dune and that did not allow me to win the stage as I wanted. But this is racing and I will keep pushing and doing my best in the days to come ”.

Adrien Van Beveren 42

“Today was a good day overall, really tough. I was able to reach Pablo at around kilometer 57 and then we rode together pushing the best we could going fast and opening the stage. It was a long way with a lot of sand dunes, broken dunes and not always easy to find the way with some surprises on the other side. I did my best and I am happy about that, considering that we were opening the stage. Now I will keep the focus for tomorrow, looking forward to getting back on the sand tracks . ”

Pablo Quintanilla 7

“Starting in front and opening the stage is always a difficult challenge and we knew today wouldn’t be different. The main goal was to be in front to have the bonus, so in the end it was not so bad. I was riding in front until kilometer 80 and then Adrien arrived and we were riding together. So overall I think this was a good stage, a good performance in the first part of the marathon stage - it is always very hard to manage these days since we are on our own without any assistance from the team.”

2023 World Rally Raid Championship
Stage Round WORLD2   Abu Dhabi

Provisional Overall Standings after Stage 2

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Van Beveren Adrien 42 FRA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 07:10:30
2 Quintanilla Pablo 7 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 07:12:00
3 Benavides Luciano 77 ARG Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna 07:13:57
4 Cornejo José Ignacio "Nacho" 11 CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 07:13:58
5 Evan Branch Ross 16 BWA Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero 07:14:24
6 Price Toby 18 AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 07:14:29
7 Brabec Ricky 9 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 07:15:37
8 Howes Skyler 10 USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 07:16:19
9 Klein Mason 43 USA BAS World KTM Racing Team KTM 07:22:00
10 Lucci Paolo 46 ITA BAS World KTM Racing Team KTM 07:39:25
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


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)