UAE: Old rivalry between Al-Attiyah and Al-Qassimi set to take centre stage in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

UAE: Old rivalry between Al-Attiyah and Al-Qassimi set to take centre stage in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi heads for a duel at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge next week

Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi heads for a duel at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge next week

Abu Dhabi (UAE) – Friday, 24 March 2017: The world’s leading drivers and riders are beginning to arrive in the United Arab Emirates ahead of next week’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY NISSAN.

The third round of the 2017 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the opening round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship kicks off with a super special stage at the Al-Forsan International Sports Resort on April 1 and runs through the deserts of the Rub Al-Khali until April 6.

A fierce rivalry has existed between Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi for 14 years. The pair locked horns for the first time in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and Al-Qassimi drew first blood with a title victory in 2004.

The pair continued their duel for several seasons in the regional rallying series and then the competition extended to the FIA World Rally Championship, where Al-Attiyah concentrated on the PWRC and WRC 2 categories and Al-Qassimi agreed to drive works Fords and Citroëns in the main World Rally Car categories.

Now the pair are specialising in cross-country rallying. Al-Attiyah has more experience in this discipline, as his two Dakar Rally victories and numerous wins on rounds of the FIA World Cup would suggest. But Al-Qassimi is a determined character and now has the latest version of Peugeot’s all-conquering 3008 DKR at his disposal for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. A mechanical issue robbed him of a top finish on his ADDC debut in 2015, but he went on to finish seventh overall with a Mini All4 Racing last year.

The Emirati shadowed his Qatari rival to the finish of the recent Dubai International Baja and almost lasted the distance at the Dakar Rally in January, before mechanical issues intervened. He will be determined to push for the top of the podium to keep up the momentum in his first real season-long challenge for FIA World Cup honours. Al-Qassimi’s navigator Khalid Al-Kendi is one of the most experienced in the UAE and developed a sound knowledge of the Western Deserts by competing alongside Abu Dhabi veteran Yayha Al-Helai on many occasions.

Al-Attiyah, meanwhile, is on a winning streak with his Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux and claimed six event victories last year in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Spain, Italy, Poland and Morocco on his way to the FIA World Cup title. A win in Dubai recently has moved him up to second in the 2017 title race behind Poland’s Aron Domzala. He also has two wins at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge under his belt but Al-Qassimi will be aiming to prevent the Doha-based driver from adding a third.

“Both Nasser and Khalid have been at the forefront of rallying in the Middle East for the last 14 years and it is fascinating that they will lock horns again across the sands of the UAE, here at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge,” enthused Mohammed Ben Sulayem, rally founder and President of the ATCUAE.

“The success of both drivers has encouraged many more people in the region to become interested in the sport and their interest in the discipline of cross-country rallying is another reason this sport is so popular now in the region.”

The event takes place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Ruler’s representative in Al-Dafra region, and has invaluable support from the Western Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, Abu Dhabi Police, National Ambulance Service, Yas Marina Circuit, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Al-Ain Water, Abu Dhabi Waste Management, Rotana and Centro Hotel – Yas Island, the Qasr Al-Sarab Resort and Al-Forsan Circuit.

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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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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!


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

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 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.

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

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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15 hrs ago


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

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( •_•) ( >💎 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... 👍

Bobs Brilliant we love Bob in our house 👍🏻

Love these little insights into the F1 community 👍

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

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!! 🍾🍾

The unsung hero of F1 😁😂🍾

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