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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    9 hrs ago


    Throwing it back to the #Moto2 race of the #BritishGP 2012 🇬🇧

    Enjoy the last laps battle for the 2nd place between Marquez and Redding! ⚔️

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    Redding and Iannone can beat Marquez they just don't get competitive bikes

    I was there.....Brilliant racing!!

    Very drunk day but remember the race. Loved watching Scott race. All packed and ready for Silverstone Thursday morning.

    Fantastic battle 👍

    I was there, great finish. Home crowd went wild when Redding got back in front, then deadly silent when Marquez had a look up inside on last bend, then wild again when Redding cut back across. Amazing stuff!


    however Mac Marquez with his current performance does not have to be Marquez's best

    Great performance by Pol & Scott at the end💪🏼..that was a cracker💥..

    Very nice

    Very nice

    All these guys are big talents. Many riders like Pol Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista, Bradley Smith, Antony West & many more are great riders and capable of winning championships ( capable ). People underestimate these guys by their bad results, but really..top material is key in these classes, especially in the MotoGp class. Give them a solid ride and they'll blow your mind

    Redding never got the ride he deserved.

    2019, #93 is the winner..😋🏁

    special suter chassis for marc and mysterious team 😉 after marc step up to motogp, this team directly disappear, nobody know where are they now.

    Just shows how good Redding was but never really got the bike to really take it to them in Motogp.

    Very cool video MotoGP. More like this one please!!!

    Man, I miss Scott Redding in the padock "let's get it babi"

    Muy buena carrera no apta para cardíacos 🤭🤭🤭

    Luthi is moto2 governor.. 🤣🤣🤣

    Forget just how good Redding could have been with a decent bike

    now whrs redding? gone?

    Nice to see maq battle for other place than 1st

    Kaj mu je pa SCOTT REDDING naredil,šale in kape.😀

    Bring back Redding

    duel one on one in the final lap marquez lose .....

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    12 hrs ago


    The dramatic moment which cost Marc Márquez a shot at victory at Silverstone two years ago! 😱

    The world champion's misfortune opened the door for Andrea Dovizioso to snatch the win! 💨

    #BritishGP 🇬🇧
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    Good Day all.

    Encore! Encore! Do it again!

    Unlikely to be repeated! Hope Dovi brings his A game though. 👍🏼👍🏼

    Gave the rest a chance

    So what's new?? Sometimes these kind of technical failures happens in Motorsport... Very rare that engine blow sky high to premier class bike.

    I love coming here and waiting for all the Yellow gob smokers.

    I thought "the legend" was gonna win that day.. 😅

    Was at this race, and that bike blowing up was almost as good as a Rossi win 😀

    RAre footage for sure

    Ah, I could watch that Honda blow up all day every day...

    Alex Groenewold finger cross 😅👍.. voor komend weekend

    #MM93 Come Back STRONGER! 💪💪💪😎👍👍👍

    Fast forward >>>> he is the world champion!!



    And finaly , the boss MM93 won the title one more time

    Saya Mie Halim moh top fan sama sama

    Nothing can stop him not even a broken bike ! Simply the king of MotoGP !

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    14 hrs ago


    Cue the celebrations, Bob! 🍾👏 ... See Less

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    “As you can see, I’m a bit high mileage” - 😂 - Bob’s funny! What a lucky guy - I’d give my right arm to work for F1❗️

    ( •_•) ( >💎 oh! Preciosa insignia! /︶\

    Must be an awesome feeling..I certainly Would love to work with f1 even if it was to clean a window.

    Nice. Long time lots of great words over the years

    Awesome to get behind the scenes!

    I love the voice of that guy

    Cheers to the great Bob!!!

    Amazing. I remember this voice. Thanks.

    More than 660 wow ! I mean that’s amazingly nice, being with the next generation sharing your experience & catching something new from them it’s a nice way. Good going Bob keep it up & don’t forget to change the baton when you still can... 👍

    It’s nice to now be able to put a name/face to the voice. Keep up the good work Bob. 🎤 🔈

    Bobs Brilliant we love Bob in our house 👍🏻

    Love these little insights into the F1 community 👍

    Amazing with the “carmen opera” music

    Awesome to put the face to the voice.

    Hey I’m a top fan again, but it is really cool to put a face to the voice. I never really thought about it till I saw this

    Big respect for Bob cheers 🍾🍾

    I now have proof of what he does when he goes away. He is my legend

    I should celebrate with champagne too after being promoted to top fan for god knows what reason 😂

    Finally we get to see the man! 🙌🏻

    I always wondered who did the podium announcements and if it was done locally or in England. 👍

    Thanks for the Top Fan position!

    Never seen the man behind the legendary announcements !

    Wait, what if he is the meow guy! 😆

    Always wondered who did the podium announcements and now we can put a face to the voice

    660 races and counting .....give Bob some champaaaaaaaagne!! 🍾🍾

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