UAE: Scene set for dramatic Bikes finale as Al Attiyah still leads Cars at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

UAE: Scene set for dramatic Bikes finale as Al Attiyah still leads Cars at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Dubai-based David McBride presses on through the Arabian desert

Dubai-based David McBride presses on through the Arabian desert

QASR AL SARAB (UAE) –Wednesday, April 5th 2017: Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah extended his advantage in the car category to 1hr 46min 03sec after the fourth 250.25km selective section of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY NISSAN on Wednesday.

But the scene is set for a dramatic showdown in the motorcycle category over the closing stage on Thursday. Victory on stage four fell to the Monster Energy Honda team rider Kevin Benavides, but the Argentinean lost his chance of taking the win with clutch issues on day three and a fascinating five-way battle is in prospect over the closing kilometres between overnight leader Paulo Gonçalves, Austrian Matthias Walkner, Pierre Alexandre Renet, Sam Sunderland and Pablo Quintanilla.

Gonçalves holds an advantage of 33.8 seconds over the Austrian, but both Sunderland and Quintanilla have favourable starting positions for the final day.

Sunderland said: “I don’t really like to race like this. The strategy and trying to see what the others guys are doing. I’d rather it just be the fastest rider won. I’ve lost this race so many years by being the fastest dude. This year I have been trying to get the strategy better. We will see how we go. I will have to ride as hard as I can to catch the time back. It may look easy on the paper but it’s far from it. You have to fight a lot and work hard.”

Leader Gonçalves was in determined mood: “Today I do what I can. I catch the guys in front of me, so I am the leader overall on day four. We have a day more to race. I will to do my best. I know it is not going to be an easy start position for tomorrow. We have 220km still to go. The bike has been perfect. The stage is a little faster tomorrow than the last three days, but we also have a lot of dunes in the middle. In normal conditions the others have an advantage. We never know.”

“Very, very happy, because this victory represents all the work I did since my crash,” said stage winner Benavides. ”It’s a new start in my career. I take confidence from this. After the penalty yesterday, I could not fight for the race but this is a great bonus.”

Mohammed Al-Balooshi has not ridden this KTM in race conditions since crashing heavily in Qatar last year, but the Ride to Abu Dhabi star holds seventh place. “Today’s stage was by far the shortest and the weather helped all the riders. We don’t have navigation problems and I am happy with my performance and comfortable with the bike. It’s not an easy job. I did not ride this bike since one year ago in Sealine Rally in Qatar. One year not riding a rally bike. We have one more day and I am looking at the bigger picture even though I would love to compete with the guys. With the situation I have given myself, I am giving 100%.”

Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel Qatari are in cruise control in the cars and won the stage from local driver Khalid Al-Jafla by 22min 41sec. “It was a good day for us. We don’t face any problems. Difficult dunes. It’s not really high speed and we try to take it easy without mistakes. We now have a big lead and we try to reach the finish for tomorrow,” said Al-Attiyah.

Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi’s debut in the new Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 3008 DKR ground to a halt, when the PH Sport car sustained a broken drive shaft before PC2 and the Emirati lost considerable time and any chance of pushing for the win. He maintained second overall.

Czech driver Martin Prokop was third to maintain a podium place and fellow countryman Miroslav Zapletal was third on the day. There were also excellent stage performances by fifth-placed Mohammed Abu Issa and Ahmed Al-Maqoodi.

Abu Issa holds fourth overall and Mark Powell has quietly been chipping away at the leader board and another superb performance by the Dubai-based Brit has seen him climb to an unofficial seventh overall in his Fast & Speed Buggy behind Khaled Al-Feraihi’s Nissan Patrol and seasoned veteran and experienced desert campaigner Yayha Al-Helai.

Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi in his Peugeot 3008 DKR.

Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi in his Peugeot 3008 DKR.

Rafal Sonik lost his 2min 08.6sec lead in the quad category after technical issues plagued his Honda TRX 700 after the first passage control. The Pole’s delay left the door open for Peru’s Alexis Hernandez Ponce to claim the stage win and for Guatamala’s Rodolfo Schippers to take a category lead of 1min 43.3sec into the final stage. Kuwait’s Fahad Al-Musallam is second and former leader Kamil Wisniewski holds third.

“One more day to go at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and it has lived up to all expectation in terms of unpredictability and excitement and we are faced with a fascinating final day to decide the results,” said event founder and ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who was joined for a tour of the bivouac by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and Chairman of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is taking 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 Al Dafrah 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.

Rafal Sonik lost his chance of claiming victory in the quad category after technical problems

Rafal Sonik lost his chance of claiming victory in the quad category after technical problems

The safety side of the event has been bolstered by vital support from National Ambulance Service. “We have ambulances and personnel in key parts of the route to maximise the safety of competitors, media and officials,” said Ahmed Saleh Al Hajeri, National Ambulance Deputy CEO.

Wednesday – as it happened

Sunderland led his rivals into the liaison of 128.17km to the start of the special to the west of the road to Madinat Zayed and managed to fend off his pursuers to the opening passage control. Quintanilla shaved nearly a minute off the Briton’s lead, but Renet, Walkner and Gonçalves used their start advantage to close in still further on the overnight leader and Benavides was riding strongly from the rear of the field after day three clutch woes.

Motion sickness forced FIA World Cup leader Aron Domzala to withdraw his Toyota before the start of the day and Al-Attiyah was the sole representative for Overdrive Racing at the front of the already depleted car field.

The route headed towards PC2 and bike refuelling at Al-Birer, south of the village of Arada, and then headed in an easterly direction across the dune complexes in the Liwa valleys to a third PC at Khis quarry (225.03km) and on to a finish, 18km from the bivouac, near Hameem.

Benavides stormed through from the rear of the field to claim the stage win for Honda and team-mate Gonçalves inherited the overall lead. But strategies will come into play on the final day. Al-Attiyah made no mistake in the cars to extend his advantage over Al-Qassimi.

Tomorrow (Thursday), is the final leg of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and comprises a shorter stage of 219.76km – a virtual mirror image of the first section run in reverse. The special starts 15km north of the desert outpost of Hameem and heads in a north-easterly direction to the opening passage control at 88.52km.

From there the tracks switch back towards PC2, at 120.78km, and bike refuelling east of the Hameem road and then on to a finish on the Razeen road where the first section began on Sunday. A liaison of 107.30km guides finishers back to the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

2017 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – positions on leg 4 (Wednesday – unofficial @ 14.50hrs):


1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 3hr 36min 50sec

2. Khalid Al-Jafla (ARE)/Ahmed Malik (ARE) Chevrolet Silverado                  3hr 59min 31sec

3. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford F-150 Evo                   4hr 02min 23sec

4. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Marek Sykora (SLO) Hummer H3 Evo III          4hr 03min 06sec

5. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 4hr 04min 01sec



1. Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda CRF 450 Rally                              3hr 38min 15sec

2. Pierre Alexander Renet (FRA) Husqvarna 450 Rally                            3hr 40min 49sec

3. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda 450 CRF Rally                              3hr 43min 49sec

4. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 Rally Factory                                      3hr 46min 56sec

5. Mohammed Jaffar (ARE) KTM 450 Raly Replica                              3hr 48min 29sec

6. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna 450 Rally                                     3hr 50min 00sec

7. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica                    3hr 50min 27sec

8. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Factory                                      3hr 52min 52sec

9. Antoine Meo (FRA)          KTM 450 Rally Factory                                      3hr 53min 30sec



1. Alexis Hernande Ponce (PER) Yamaha Raptor 700 R                      4hr 07min 29sec

2. Rodolfo Schippers (GUA) Yamaha Raptor 700 R                               4hr 12min 04sec

3. Kees Koolen (NED) Barren Racer One 690                                               4hr 14min 39sec

4. Fahad Al-Musallam (KUW)          Yamaha Raptor 700R                              4hr 17min 33sec

5. Camelia Liparoti (ITA) Yamaha Raptor 700 R                               4hr 28min 04sec

6. Kamil Wisniewski (POL) Yamaha Raptor 700 R                               4hr 36min 00sec


2017 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – positions after Leg 4 (Wednesday – unofficial @ 14.50hrs):


1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota Hilux Overdrive 14hr 43min 58.7sec

2. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (ARE) Peugeot 3008 DKR    16hr 30min 01.8sec

3. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford F-150 Evo                   17hr 04min 07.1sec

4. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 17hr 56min 07.7sec

5. Khalid Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Ali Hassan Obaid (ARE) Nissan Patrol            20hr 12min 05.3sec

6. Yayha Al-Helai (ARE)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Nissan Pick-Up                    20hr 33min 34.6sec

7. Mark Powell (GBR)/Quin Evans (GBR) Fast & Speed Buggy           20hr 41min 02.5sec



1. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda 450 CRF Rally                              15hr 32min 56.8sec

2. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 Rally Factory                                      15hr 33min 30.6sec

3. Pierre Alexander Renet (FRA) Husqvarna 450 Rally                            15hr 34min 07.3sec

4. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Factory                                      15hr 34min 12.5sec

5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna 450 Rally                                     15hr 34min 27.2sec

6. Antoine Meo (FRA)          KTM 450 Rally Factory                                      16hr 27min 41.1sec

7. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica                    16hr 40min 26.7sec



1. Rodolfo Schippers (GUA) Yamaha Raptor 700 R                               19hr 09min 54.9sec

2. Fahad Al-Musallam (KUW)          Yamaha Raptor 700R                              19hr 11min 38.2sec

3. Kamil Wisniewski (POL) Yamaha Raptor 700 R                               19hr 27min 08.4sec

4. Camelia Liparoti (ITA) Yamaha Raptor 700 R                               20hr 09min 34.4sec

5. Maxim Antimirov (KAZ) Honda TRX 700                                               20hr 22min 50.4sec


For live timing and tracking during the race: races/

http://tracking.sporttraxx. com/races/addc-2017/splits/

Spectator vantage points


Thursday, April 6 – SS5 (Abu Dhabi Aviation)

Start SS5 – 07.00hrs          N23 05.319 E54 18.965 15km north of Hameem


Viewpoint – 07.20hrs          N23 10.603 E54 20.198 Near underpass


PC2 – 08.45hrs          N23 35.134 E54 33.389 Bike refuel. 18km east of Hameem road, turn off 1km after new ADNOC.


PC3 – 10.00hrs          N23 41.274 E54 44.909          10.4km south of SS5 finish close to tarmac road.


Finish SS5 – 10.50hrs          N23 46.421 E54 47.012 As start of SS1.


Ceremonial finish – 16.00hrs          N24 28.120 E54 36.533 Yas Marina Circuit


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8 hrs ago


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

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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.

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9 hrs ago


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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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?

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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! 👏
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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




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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 🏆
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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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