Abu Dhabi: Prokop and Quintinalla celebrate victories in Desert Challenge

Abu Dhabi: Prokop and Quintinalla celebrate victories in Desert Challenge

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 29 March, 2018: Czech driver Martin Prokop and Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla completed their paths to victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan today, avoiding any late dramas as the event reached its conclusion after five days of spectacular action.

Prokop and co-driver David Pabiska, who started the final leg holding a 15 mins 20secs cars lead, were fourth fastest on the 218-km Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage and won by 13 mins 30.2 secs overall from Poland’s Jakub Przygonski with Belgian Tom Colsoul in a Mini John Cooper.


Russia’s two-times Desert Challenge winners Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov finished third, another 32 mins 59 secs behind in a Mini Cooper Countryman.

Final stage winner Cyril Despres took fourth place alongside Swiss Steve Ravussin in a Buggy Ford 2WD, while German Stephan Schott and Portuguese co-driver Paulo Fiuza in a Mini John Cooper and Saudi Arabia’s Khaled AlFeraihi and Osama Alsanad in Nissan Patrol Pick Up completed the top six.

Another Saudi driver, Ahmed Al Shegawi, was among those celebrating at the finish, after taking his Nissan Patrol to victory in the T2 production cars category with French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter. They were joined on the finish ramp by Prince Khaled Al Faisal, President of the Motor Federation of Saudi Arabia.

The UAE’s defending champion, Khalid Al Qassimi, fourth overnight, failed to reach the finish, retiring with French co-driver Xavier Panseri 21-km into the stage when his Peugeot Abu Dhabi Racing Team 3008 DKR developed mechanical problems.

There were no problems for Husqvarna rider Quintanilla, who like Prokop captured his first Desert Challenge title, finishing fifth fastest on the day but winning overall by 5 mins 11 secs from defending champion, Dubai-based Sam Sunderland on a KTM.

Argentinian Kevin Benavides finished third on a Honda another 3 mins 23 secs away. Dakar Rally champion Matthias Walkner from Austria won the Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage to take fourth place overall on a KTM while Honda riders Paulo Goncalves of Portugal, the 2014 winner, and American Ricky Brabec completed the top six.

Ahmed Al Shegawi and Laurent Lichtl at the finish

Spain’s Jose-Luis Pena Campo and Rafel Tornabell in a Polaris captured the buggies title while Dutchman Kees Koolen on his Barren Racer was crowned quads champion.

“We’ve added another chapter to the Desert Challenge success story, and after 28 years the rally is still going from strength to strength,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and Emirates Motorsport Federation, at the official finish at Yas Marina Circuit. “It’s good to welcome new champions. They’ll enjoy having this success on their CVs.”

Jubilant at the finish, Prokop said: “I’m extremely happy of course to finish and it’s amazing to win, especially without making many mistakes over the five stages. My biggest issue building up to desert rallies was a lack of experience driving in the sand. I’ve been training hard over the past three years in Abu Dhabi and it’s good to see it pay off”

Przygonski said: “I’m really happy and it’s a great rally. It was a good fight between us (Prokop) and we had a chance to catch them over the stages. But a few mistakes on our part meant we couldn’t make the time back. Martin has been really gr1eat over the past few days so congratulations to him.”


Stage winner Despres, who saw victory in the event five times as a rider, said: “Today was fun. Flat sections suit this car – good fast tracks. I’m feeling okay and glad to be back in the Desert Challenge and trying something different. I learned a lot about driving four wheels across the desert – very different to riding a motorbike across the dunes.”

The bikes had begun the final stage with a spectacular motocross-style mass start, and a beaming Quintanilla finished it to say: “I’m really happy to win the race. I had a great fight with the guys. It’s a big win for me, fantastic. A big thank you to all my team and for all the support I received.”

Stage winner Benavides said: “The last day was a motocross start and it was really great, but it’s hard in a group as there were no leaders, so it was a bit tough in the dunes. We had to push a lot in the last 50kms though and some went in front. I really had to fight (Walkner) to keep my overall position.”

Taking place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is forms the third round of the 2018 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies and the opening round of this year’s FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes and quads.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Powered by Nissan is supported by Al Dafrah Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, Abu Dhabi Police, Nissan Middle East, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Al-Ain Water, National Ambulance Service, Tadweer, Yas Marina Circuit and the Qasr Al-Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.

Provisional results


  1. Martin Prokop / David Pabiska (CZE / CZE) / Ford F-150 Evo                                   17:06:57.9
  2. Jakub Przygonski / Tom Colsoul (POL / BEL) / Mini John Cooper                17:20:28.1

  3. Vladimir Vasilyev / K.Zhiltsov (RUS / RUS) / Mini Cooper Countryman    17:53:27.5

  4. Cyril Despres / Steve Ravussin (FRA / CHE) Buggy Ford 2WD                               18:38:36.5

  5. Stephan Schott / Paulo Fiuza (DEU / POR) / Mini John Cooper                         20:24:16.7

  6. Khaled AlFeraihi / Osama Alsanad (SAU / SAU) / Nissan Patrol Pick Up 21:02:46.5

  7. Jose-Luis Pena Campo / Rafel Tornabell (ESP / ESP) / Polaris RZR 1000       22:11:03.4

  8. Christopher Rosenberger / Nicola Bleicher (AUT / DEU) / Mini All4 Racing        22:22:46.2

  9. Vincent Gonzalez / Stephane Duple (CHE / FRA) / Polaris RZR 1000                   23:09:47.2

  10. Patrice Garrouste / Loic Minaudier (FRA / FRA) / Polaris RZR 1000                   23:12:21.5




  1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL) / Husqvarna 450                                      16:51:11
  • Sam Sunderland (ARE) / KTM 450                                                16:56:22

  • Kevin Benavides (ARG) / Honda CRF 450                        16:59:45.

  • Matthias Walkner (AUT) / KTM 450                                              17:00:47

  • Paulo Goncalves (POR) / Honda CRF 450                                     17:09:46

  • Ricky Brabec (USA) / Honda CRF 450                                          17:11:57

  • Toby Price (AUS) / KTM 450                                                        17:20:56

  • Jose Ignacio Cornejo F (CHL) / Honda CRF 450                           17:21:16

  • Michael Metge (FRA) / Honda CRF 450                                        17:29:30.

  • Benjamin Melot (ZAF) / KTM 450 Rally                                     19:06:48



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    10 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!

    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.

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

    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"

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

    Muy buena carrera no apta para cardíacos 🤭🤭🤭

    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

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

    Bring back Redding

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

    Joe Barker a fond memory. Can’t believe how empty it looks!

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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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    Maybe that won’t see this sunday, I’d rather watch all the riders fighting for the victory. ✊🏻🏍

    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

    Honda's bike today is reliable so this might not happen again.

    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.

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    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

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