Rally: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge celebrate victories at gala dinner and prize giving ceremony at Yas Marina Circuit

Rally: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge celebrate victories at gala dinner and prize giving ceremony at Yas Marina Circuit

The final 215 km Abu Dhabi Aviation stage 5 may have been the shortest of the 2019 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, but the pressure remained high.

For those looking to take overall victories, the penultimate stage had been a harsh reminder that a slim leading margin could be wiped out in no time with a crash or a breakdown – No one was home and dry.

Yet, no one seemed keen to take their foot off the gas come the final day either, asJakub Przygonski (POL)Martin Prokop (POL)Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE) and Cyril Despres (FRA) set a blistering pace in the cars.

By the finish, Przygonski and Gottschalk had flown down the course and taken the stage 5 victory in a hard fought battle that had seen their Mini cross the line without its bonnet. Theirs was just one of several battle scarred cars, bikes and buggies in a fast but relentless stage.

Yet there was one team for whom a steady performance was the key to ultimate success, that of husband and wife Stéphane (FRA) and Andrea (GER) Peterhansel who repeated a strategy that had seen them move to the top of the rankings after the second stage.

A fast, but even pace on stage 5 cost them 10 of the 18 minutes that they had in hand at the start, but this was a calculated move from a pair that are both well known for adopting such strategies.

The couple had claimed before the start of the event that winning wasn’t on their minds. Instead, they wanted to test whether their combination would work – It clearly had.

In the bikes, strategy was at the heart of Sam Sunderland’s (GBR) success too. Starting 6th with an 18 second advantage over Jose Cornejo (CHL) allowed Sunderland to chase down those that were laying down the tracks ahead.

His pace and experience in a perfectly executed Desert Challenge saw him take both the final leg victory and the overall title by more 8mins 20 secs over Luciano Benavides (ARG)Jose Cornejo took the final podium spot in third.

In the T2 class, Farad Al Musallam (KWT) held onto his narrow lead over Rafal Sonik (POL) while in T3 Casey Currey (USA) and Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA)pipped their team mates Reinaldo Varela (BRA) and Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA) to the post for overall victory.

View Car and Motorbike entry lists here


Results (provisional)
1. Stephane Peterhansel / Andrea Peterhansel (FRA / DEU) / MINI JCWorks Rally 18:03:45.0
2. Khalid Al Qassimi / Xavier Panseri (ARE / FRA) / Peugeot 3008 DKR 18:12:33.0
3. Aron Domzala / Maciej Marton (POL / POL) / Toyota Hilux Overdrive 18:50:01.0
4. Casey Currie / Laurent Lichtleuchter (USA / FRA) / CAN AM Maverick X3 19:43:18.0
5. Reinaldo Varela / Gustavo Gugelmin (BRA / BRA) / CAN AM Maverick X3 19:44:30.0
6. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / RUS) / BMW X3 19:44:44.0
7. Martin Prokop / Viktor Chytka (CZE / CZE) / Ford Raptor RS Cross Country 19:56:05.0
8. Cyril Despres / Daniel Oliveras (FRA / ESP) / Mini John Cooper Works Buggy 22:12:19.0
9. Thomas Bell / Patrick McMurren (ARE / ARE) 24:44:59.0
10. Khalid Al Jafla / Andrei Rudnitski (ARE / BLR) 24:46:08.0

1. Sam Sunderland (GBR) / KTM 450 Rally Factory / 1 17:46:42.0
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG) / KTM 450 Rally Factory / 1 17:55:02.0
3. Jose Cornejo (CHL) / Honda CRF 450 Rally / 1 17:56:41.0
4. Kevin Benavides (ARG) / Honda CRF 450 Rally / 1 18:21:33.0
5. Andrew Short (USA) / HUSQVARNA FR 450 / 1 18:48:22.0
6. Ryan Blair (GBR) / HUSQVARNA F 450 RR / 1 19:23:33.0
7. Mohammed Meshari Jaffar (KWT) / KTM 450 Rally Replica / 1 19:23:48.0
8. Mark Ackerman (ZAF) / HUSQVARNA F 450 RR / 1 19:31:13.0
9. Mohammed Al Balooshi (ARE) / KTM 450 Rally Replica / 1 19:32:36.0
10. Fahad Al Musallam (KWT) / Yamaha Raptor 700 / 2 21:51:28.0


Sulayem presents trophies as UAE’s world class rally

reaches climax at Yas Marina Circuit

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 5 April 2019:  The 29th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan came to a climax with a gala dinner and prize giving ceremony at Yas Marina Circuit.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and Emirates Motorsport Federation, was joined by Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit.

Cars winners, French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Andrea Peterhansel

Cars winners, French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Andrea Peterhansel © RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer

The winners included French driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Andrea Peterhansel who landed the cars title, and second time bikes champion Sam Sunderland from the United Kingdom.

Qatari driver Mohammed Al Meer and Russian and co-driver Alexey Kuzmich won the T2 production cars category in a Nissan Patrol.

American Casey Currie captured the buggies title while Kuwati Fahad Al Musallam was crowned quads champion.

Two-time bike champion, Sam Sunderland

Two-time bike champion, Sam Sunderland © RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer

Taking place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region, the event was the second round of the 2019 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.

Qatari driver Mohammed Al Meer and Russian co-driver Alexey Kuzmich who won the T2 production cars category in a Nissan Patrol.© RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer

The rally was supported Abu Dhabi Aviation, Abu Dhabi Police, ADNOC, Al Ain Water, Al Dhafra Region Ruler’s Representative Court, National Ambulance, Nissan, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and Yas Marina Circuit.

Fahad Al Mussalam, winner of the quads title © RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer


American Casey Currie and French co-drive Laurent Lichtleuchter who captured the buggies © RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer

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7 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!

Un genio muy buenos

Awesome pictures!


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.

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

2019, #93 is the winner..😋🏁

Nice to see Scott Redding giving him lesson <3 (y)

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

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

Muy buena carrera no apta para cardíacos 🤭🤭🤭

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


Nice to see maq battle for other place than 1st

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

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

Bring back Redding

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10 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.

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.

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

Saya Mie Halim moh top fan sama sama

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! 💪💪💪😎👍👍👍



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

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

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12 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... 👍

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!! 🍾🍾

The unsung hero of F1 😁😂🍾

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