Rally: Al Attiyah cruises to second Desert Challenge victory as Toby Price takes bikes crown

Rally: Al Attiyah cruises to second Desert Challenge victory as Toby Price takes bikes crown


Al Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel in a Toyota Hilux, were fastest on the 234km Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage and reached the finish at Yas Marina Circuit holding an emphatic winning margin of 32 mins 13 secs

Al Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel in a Toyota Hilux, were fastest on the 234km Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage and reached the finish at Yas Marina Circuit holding an emphatic winning margin of 32 mins 13 secs

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 7 April, 2016:  Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah cruised to his second cars victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY Nissan today as Australian Toby Price produced a great ride on the final leg to claim the bikes title on his first attempt.

Partnered by French co-driver Mathieu Baumel in a Toyota Hilux, Al Attiyah was fastest on the 234km Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage and reached the finish at Yas Marina Circuit holding an emphatic winning margin of 32 mins 13 secs over Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi and German Timo Gotschalk in a Mini All4Racing.

Six minutes further away in another Mini, Finn Mikko Hirvonen marked his Desert Challenge debut with third place alongside French co-driver Michel Perin in the second round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

The top six was completed by American Bryce Menzies on his first appearance in the event, Poland’s Jakub Przygonski, and Frenchman Mathieu Serradori who climbed past the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi in an Abu Dhabi Racing Mini on the final day.

The battle to become the new bikes champion had been a fascinating one as the rally swept through the dunes and desert plains of the Western Region of Al Gharbia, with Price and Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla each taking the lead twice, Sam Sunderland always close at hand.

Price, this year’s Dakar Rally winner, made his decisive move on the concluding Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage, winning it from KTM team-mate Sunderland to take victory by 2 mins 11 secs from the Dubai-based rider, with Quintanilla another 1 min 12 secs away on his Husqvarna.

The challenge to compete against three of the world’s top factory team riders brought the best out of the UAE’s Mohammed Al Balooshi who rode faultlessly to finish fourth on his privately entered KTM.

There was title success for the UAE as well, as Emirati Ahmad Al Maqoodi with co-driver Obaid Al Kitbe won the buggies category in a Polaris.

Qatar’s Adel Hussain Abdulla with Egyptian Hakam Mohamed Rabeia in a Nissan Patrol captured the T2 production class title. Poland’s reigning FIM World champion Rafal Sonik won the quads category.

“We have had another classic five days of desert rallying at its best,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers. “This event is always very challenging, but fair, and we’re very happy once again to have seen so many of the top drivers and riders in the world sharing the stage here with competitors from the UAE and other Arab countries.”

Al Attiyah, who secured his first Desert Challenge title in 2008, wore a broad smile at the finish after a dominant display which saw him win four out of the five desert stages. He said: “I’m so happy to win the Desert Challenge again. I really enjoyed driving the Toyota. We never made a mistake, never got stuck. It was a great team effort to win this rally.”

Hirvonen, the four-times WRC runner-up, said: “It’s been a good rally. I learned a lot and that was the aim. We got better and better during the rally. Still there are things to learn, like following Nasser’s speed through the dunes.”

“Stage 4 yesterday was definitely the toughest. I was pushing the whole stage and I knew I was fast. I felt dehydrated a bit but wanted to bring it home. But those five days – that was proper rallying.”

Menzies completed the Abu Dhabi Aviation stage to say: “I’ve been feeling it these past few days and had no energy in the car, but I pushed to the end and had lots of fun.”

“It’s different from the usual and I’ve learnt so much driving with the best.  I’m looking forward to Italy next and getting some more time in the car. I had high expectations when I came here and I’ve had an awesome time.”

I had a couple of close calls today. I was pushing hard from the start. I was riding most of the time with Sam, which wasn't the plan at first.

I had a couple of close calls today. I was pushing hard from the start. I was riding most of the time with Sam, which wasn’t the plan at first.

Bikes winner Price said: “That was good riding. I had a couple of close calls today. I was pushing hard from the start. I was riding most of the time with Sam, which wasn’t the plan at first. We tried shaking the guys behind us, but weren’t really able to.”

Lady rider Laia Sanz typified the spirit of the rally when she stopped to help fellow-Spaniard Txomin Arana Cobeaga when he crashed 20km from the end of the stage, staying with him until a Search and Rescue team arrived within ten minutes, giving him all her water supply.

Cobeaga was evacuated by helicopter to Mafraq Hospital with back and chest injuries, and Sanz went on to complete the stage to finish sixth overall.

“Riding a rally (we are) like a family, we all push, and we compete but we look out for each other,” she said at the end. “The result today doesn’t matter. The first thing I thought about was not the race, just making sure he’d be ok.”

Taking place under the patronage of H.H.Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western region, the 26th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY Nissan is organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the national motor sport authority.

The Nissan Patrol, the “Hero of All terrain in Life”, is positioned for the 13th year as the official vehicle of the event. The line-up of strategic sponsors and partners includes the Ruler’s Court in the Western Region, Western Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, Abu Dhabi Police, National Ambulance Service, Nissan, Yas Marina Circuit, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Tadweer (The Center of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi), Rotana and Centro Hotels – Yas Island, Qasr Al Sarab Resort, and DP World.

Leading positions (Provisional)


  1. Nasser Al-Attiyah / Mathieu Baumel (QAT / FRA) Toyota Hilux                   17:14.49
  2. Yazeed Al-Rajhi / Timo Gotschalk (KSA / DEU) Mini All4 Racing               17:47.02

  3. Mikko Hirvonen / Michel Perin (FIN / FRA) Mini All4 Racing                     17:53.02

  4. Bryce Menzies / Andreas Schulz (USA / DEU) Mini All4 Racing                   17:59.04

  5. Jakub Przygonski / Tom Colsoul (POL / BEL) Mini All4 Racing                    18:06.33

  6. Mathieu Serradori / Didier Haquette (FRA / FAR) Buggy                              18:39.00

  7. Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi / Khalid Al Kendi (ARE /ARE) Mini All4 Racing   18:56.01

  8. Marek Dabrowski / Jacek Czachor (POL / POL)                                                     19:52.40

  9. Yuriy Sazonov / Dmytro Tsyro (KAZ / RUS)                                                            20:56.29

  10. Ahmad Al Maqoodi / Obaid Al Kitbe (ARE /ARE) Polaris RZR 1000 T3  21:34.52


  1. Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1                                               18:18.24
  • Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1                                    18:20.35

  • Pablo Quintanilla (CHL) Husqvarna 450 Rally Factory 1                        18:21.47

  • Mohammed Al Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica                          18:56.38

  • Pierre Alexandre Renet (FRA)                                                                       18:57.02

  • Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1/3                                               19:19.25

  • Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (CHL)                                                            19:19.28

  • Jakub Piatek (POL) KTM 450 Rally Replica 1/4                                          19:27.57

  • David McBride (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Replica 1                                         19:37.17

  • David Thomas (GBR) Husqvarna 450 Rally Replica 1                             20:51.22




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    8 hrs ago


    That Alex Albon is so cheeky 😂 ... See Less

    Comment on Facebook

    Omg! I love this duo so much! Never fail to make me laugh 😂

    Actually I don't Like Alex' sense of humor :/ he is imo too arrogant

    Is it just me or does anybody else wanna punch max in the fuckin face as hard as u could??

    Why in the hell did Merc haven't done Grill the Grid?

    If he think that one is bad i wonder what he think of the rookie of the year one ! 👀

    Alex very honest! I like that


    Did he say Sonny Moore at 0:28?

    Congrats 😎

    Nikko Par

    Alex Albon 💙

    Sarah Jones

    Ricardo Ruiz

    While you patiently waiting for your monthly salary, others are busy earning nothing less than $500- $10000 every 48hours, Ask me how????

    Celine Maddie

    Traduscalon a español

    Rahul Kale Nuaman Wt

    Max might be fast but his funny level is pretty low.

    "It looks Romanian" hahaha good knowledge of flags Alex!

    Who win this in 2018 please?

    Being a Romanian, I’m surprise that Albon know the Romania 🇷🇴 flag ☺️. Wow.

    View more comments

    9 hrs ago


    Hang in there... fewer than 💯 days until the next race 😅 ... See Less

    Comment on Facebook

    Man weekends are so boring at the moment. Drive to survive needs to come out sooner than March to help this out

    It was fun back in the days when we had the V8 .. It was a joy to watch the replays but now I can't stand watching any reply of this era even if it was a perfect move or something really special Please give us some noise .. I want my ears to hurt again 😅

    And if Sebastian and Max have been good Saint Nic may bring them a fast car for 2020.

    Odotetaan jannityksella odotus aika tuntuu pitkalta vai mita . ?? 🌲🌨🎅🎅Hyvaa joulua seka vuoden loppua . 🥂❤️❤️🍀🍀.

    Super cross holds me over quite well until F1 starts back up.

    It's gonna be a long winter.

    It’s worse when you put it that way! 100 days...omg....nooooooooooooo!

    90 days, 4 hours, 9 minutes and 30 sec to be precise...

    Now that F1 has been over.

    Waiting on the season to start

    if V12 days yes we aka fans are eager for new seasons race but not now sadly..

    With me in the competition.. Your gonna.. WIN.. 🏆❤💋

    We are ready 💜😏

    I know it’s not F1, but urge everyone to get on to the Bathurst 12 hour stream, starting October 21st. A real motor race with overtaking. It might get you through to the start of the next F1 season. www.bathurst12hour.com.au/news/2020-liqui-moly-bathurst-12-hour-date-confirmed/

    Hang in there Tom, it’ll be back soon!!

    Racing denotes some sort of competition is involved.

    Can't wait!

    It's not that long.

    Waiting for this.. 👍🏻 👍🏻 👏🏻 🏁🏁🏎️🏎️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    Non vediamo l'ora che comincia grand premio, speriamo che sia spettacolare come finale 2019...

    100 days never seemed longer

    Race ever day.

    اعطونا رزنامت الموسم القادم

    Can’t wait 😆

    Can't wait.

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    10 hrs ago


    🥁 And the winner is... (as voted by F1 fans) ... See Less

    Comment on Facebook

    Funny how fans were whingeing about the state of F1 in early 2019, saying it's boring and a procession...Soon as they said that, boom! We have a season on our hands. A season to enjoy, with some of the best overtakes I've ever seen, in my 34 full years of F1 watching! Wow!

    I'm surprised that Leclercs move on Gasly at Silverstone isn't included in this list. I don't think I've ever seen an overtake around the outside of Village. Pretty impressive, as far as I am concerned.

    Would you look at that F1, the FIAs "Action of the Year" nowhere to be seen as anyone with an ounce of credibility knows that was an overtake off the circuit.

    Sainz at Brazil should’ve been #1

    Seriously how Max got "Action of the year" with that move I'll never know.... Way more impressive moves this year than that!

    Lec overtake impossible Ver overtake very difficult and very beautiful but possible ! For me Lec P1 Ver P2

    The number 1 is one of the easiest move, it's number 1 just 'cause crytappen done it. In the same footage, 20 meters behind, there is a more gutsy move made by his team-mate Albon on the (most powerful on straights) Ferrari of Vettel. That shows once again that "voted by fan" means s**t. Most of them can't even understand the basis of motorsport.

    I liked the double overtake of Verstappen on LeClerc and Hamilton in Brazil the most. Such confidence and determinatiom and Senna-esque going for the gap. That’s what makes Max brilliant

    The overtake of Verstappen to Leclerc in Austria is not a good overtake, was an ilegal overtake!

    Passing on the grass is always tricky. A bit too much throttle either on the grass or when regaining the track and you're not going to have a good day. Much as I'm not a fan of Leclerc, I do have to say where he passed in Monaco was tricky and took some skill. I think that Norris' double pass in COTA should've been in this top ten.

    Everything that F1 does here is to find a way to sell Max as an phenomenon. It sucks .... no credibility at all.

    Max's overtake on Hamilton is exactly like Montoya to Schumacher at the same place in a GP of Brazil..

    Where is Hamilton on Vettel in Bahrain?? And Albon on Ricciardo at Spa!!?

    An overtaking package without a single highlight from Ricciardo. Sums up Renault's season perfectly.

    No.4 Bottas passed Hamilton on the next corner, where no one had passed before. It was great move!

    P7 was not overtaking. It was forcing out of the track and causing a collison

    And Sainz in Mónaco overtakes kvyat?

    Number 4 Bottas repasted Hamilton into Cops corner that should be in the top 10, not often we have cars wheel too wheel into the corner it was fantastic racing from both drivers !!! 🤙

    The best overtake for me is Leclerc on Gasly in Silverston

    Sainz last lap overtake that secured the point för the 6th Palace in the Championship

    6 years of Boring Parades.....F1 used to actually race before the Engineering Exercise.

    That Max pass on Leclerc was anything but clean or graceful. Shoulda left a little more room outside.

    To vote overtake moves check tyre wear and strategy cause a Williams can send one outside of Merc if tyres are worn differently......

    how was sainz 3rd and not first? that was brave and crazily tight to overtake there....

    Why Leclerc got 2 best overtake? I’ve never seen overtaking at that part of the track in this decade.

    View more comments

    11 hrs ago


    Round 2 in Ausin provided drama that nobody expected! 😱

    Take a look back at the first moments of the #AmericasGP! 🇺🇸

    ... See Less

    Comment on Facebook

    MM side to side transitions down through the esses is so much quicker than everyone else! Also he brakes so much harder and later than anyone coming into 12 it’s unreal to watch in person!

    That turn 1 is so amazing.

    it was actually round 3....but who's counting....

    First race I went to ❤️

    Who wrote this a child sloppy

    Austin not 'Ausin' 😂 Round 3 not 2 😂 I think MotoGP is drunk

    Cant spell Austin

    Where’s Ausin? Is that near Austin?

    Vr 46 😍

    who won..??

    Round 3 in Austin

    What drama? 🤷‍♂️

    Where is Ausin?

    Patrick Souza

    Wasn't Austin* round 3?

    that race..??

    Bay Shapso

    Marc Marquez ❤❤

    Wow this track is up, the lining of the #GP is so amazing ,😎

    Forza VR46 ❤

    Fabien Audouard Polo Fabien

    Tressia Nowlin 🏍️❤️❤️❤️‼️‼️‼️


    Que puesto quedo rossi?

    View more comments

    12 hrs ago


    A first every Álex Rins/493142754078013">#MotoGP victory for Álex Rins! 🏆

    His victory back at the #AmericasGP will go down in the history books! 👏
    ... See Less

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    Rossi has perfected diving in too late and hot, then running way wide. You'd think he'd know better by now.

    rossi should kick rins. so he can win this race. 🤐


    S U Z U K Ingggggg 💪💪💪👏👏👏🦾🦾

    Young riders to win 😎

    I was there😁

    Boa. Parabéns




    View more comments

    18 hrs ago


    Maiden winners at the Marc Márquez17">#AmericasGPMaverick Viñalesf="https://facebooÁlex Rins142754078013">#MotoGP ➡️ Marc Márquez 🏆
    2014 #Moto2 ➡️ Maverick Viñales 🏆
    2013 #Moto3 ➡️ Álex Rins 🏆
    ... See Less

    Comment on Facebook

    2013 AmericasGP marquez: new bike, new track, fast to adapt

    Miss You Little Samurai #26DP 😑😑

    Of course a choose Vin also...

    Always.... Marc...

    First is always special ❣️❣️❣️

    Always Marc 💪🏻💪🏻🇳🇵🇳🇵

    Miss you dani😭😭

    Marc ❤

    The first sign of the alien existed


    MM93 forewer

    Keliatan beda kelas antara marc dgn alex and vina

    Always boring rider and boring titles from marq marquez

    Babang dani 😍


    Hallo ich bin Martin 😀

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    20 hrs ago


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