ADDC 2023: Toby Price ready to take on Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price is ready to race the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Fresh from his runner-up finish at the Dakar Rally, Price comes into this second round of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship looking to secure a solid result and keep his fight for the 2023 world title firmly on track. Unfortunately, winner of this year’s Dakar, Kevin Benavides, had a crash during the shakedown for the ADDC, which resulted in a broken leg, ruling him out of this year’s event. Matthias Walkner will also miss round two as he recovers from the wrist injury sustained during the Dakar.

Taking place just over one month after the Dakar Rally, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge looks set to test all riders once again with its mixture of technical navigation and long days racing through the dunes of the Liwa Desert. Made up of a short, six-kilometer prologue, followed by five tough days in the saddle, this year’s ADDC will see competitors cover over 2,000 kilometers in total, with close to 1,300 kilometers raced against the clock.

After taking the fight for Dakar Rally victory right down to the very last stage at this year’s race, Toby Price comes into the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge keen to build on his podium result from round one and put himself in a good position to fight for the overall world title at the end of the five-round season.

Feeling fit and happy to be back racing his KTM 450 RALLY through the desert, Toby has his eyes firmly fixed on success in the United Arab Emirates.

Toby Price: “After a really strong start to the year, things are looking pretty good for Abu Dhabi. It’s been about four weeks since Dakar so I’m really keen to get back on the bike and back racing. It’s not much of a break after what was such a long and intense opening round to the season, but I’m feeling good and looking forward to getting started. I’ve had a little time to get reacquainted with the KTM 450 RALLY, and we know we’ve got a good motorcycle. We just need things to fall into place now and see what the race will bring.”

Also keen to carry his winning momentum into the ADDC, Kevin Benavides looked on good form ahead of the event. Unfortunately, while testing his KTM 450 RALLY during the shakedown, a crash in the dunes resulted in the 34-year-old suffering a broken femur. Undergoing a successful surgery in Dubai, Benavides is expected to make a fast and full recovery and hopes to be back racing again soon.

Red Bull KTM's Matthias Walkner is still recovering from the wrist injury he sustained early on during the Dakar Rally. The Austrian rider hopes to be back racing at round three of the world championship in Mexico at the end of April.

The 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge begins on Sunday, February 26 with a short prologue, followed by five full days of racing in the iconic rolling sand dunes of the area, close to the city. The race concludes on March 3, after covering over 2,000 kilometers.


Source KTM Factory Racing

ADDC 2023: Lategan / Cummings to compete in '23 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge  

This race is valid for FIA Worl Rally-Raid Championship

  • Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings to take part in their first Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
  • Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel to continue W2RC campaign

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING South Africa’s Henk Lategan and co-driver, Brett Cummings, will be taking part in next week’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The pair, who finished fifth at this year’s Dakar Rally, held in Saudi Arabia during January, will be aiming to gain international experience, with an emphasis on the dune-rich terrain they expect to encounter during the race.

They will partner Dakar 2023 winners, Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, who will be taking on the Desert Challenge as Round 2 of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship. While Al-Attiyah/Baumel are competing in the full World Rally-Raid Championship for 2023, Lategan and Cummings will be taking part as a once-off only.

Both crews will be competing in the GR DKR Hilux T1+, which won its second consecutive Dakar Rally earlier this year. The car has proven extremely tough and reliable, with four of the Top 5 positions at this year’s Dakar going to crews campaigning versions of this machine. Beside the three TGR crews, who finished in 1st, 4th (Giniel de Villiers / Dennis Murphy) and 5th, Brazil’s Lucas Moraes and his German co-driver, Timo Gottschalk, attained 3rd place in a privately entered version of the Toyota Hilux T1+.

“Taking part in a round of the W2RC in addition to the Dakar Rally has long been one of my ambitions, and the terrain in Abu Dhabi closely resembles that of the Dakar itself,” said Lategan. “As such, the experience of racing in Abu Dhabi is invaluable, and I’m looking forward to measuring my speed against some of the fastest crews in the world, in an arena outside the Dakar. We know the GR DKR Hilux T1+ is up to the task – now it is down to me and Brett to make the most of the opportunity.”

While Lategan will be making his Abu Dhabi debut, Al-Attiyah has won the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge three times – twice in a Toyota Hilux, with Mathieu Baumel beside him. The Qatari suffered a heavy landing in stage one of the 2022 event, however, which precluded him from attaining a fourth victory. Despite the early setback, Nasser and Mathieu fought back by winning all the remaining stages in the race, bagging maximum points for stage wins, and keeping their W2RC aspirations alive. This proved pivotal at the end of the season, as their nearest competitors came within a few points of snatching the title – but the points scored during the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge stood the TGR crew in good stead, as they finished the inaugural year of the championship as winners. Toyota was also crowned as the winning manufacturer for the inaugural season.

For Lategan, racing in Abu Dhabi is an opportunity to broaden his experience in the dunes, and even though the crews test in some of the biggest dunes in the world, near Walvis Bay in Namibia, the terrain is somewhat different in the Al Dhannah and Liwa Deserts, where the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge takes place. However, it closely resembles the dunes found in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, which has proven a critical part of the Dakar Rally over the past few editions.

This year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is set to kick off with a prologue, to determine the starting orders for Stage 1, on Sunday 26 February. This will be followed by five stages, totalling 1,311km. The total distance for the event, including liaisons, will be 2,168km, with the timed stages varying in length between 208km and 310km. The event is scheduled to finish at the Energy Business Centre in Abu Dhabi City on Friday 3 March.

Source Toyota South Africa

ADDC 2023: The action is back with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

This race is valid for FIM World Rally-Raid Championship


Six weeks after the Dakar in Saudi Arabia, the World Rally Raid Championship is back for the second stop with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. From next Sunday – 25 February – until 3 March the action is back and Monster Energy Honda Team is determined to set the pace in this gruelling sand competition.

The team will be at the start with all riders, with the return of American Ricky Brabec, who was injured during the last Dakar Rally and is now cleared to compete again. Chileans Pablo Quintanilla and José Ignacio Cornejo will also be at the start with Brabec. Same applies to Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren, who will race his first Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge representing Monster Energy Honda Team.

With a very special taste for the sand lovers, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge starts with the traditional prologue on 26 February followed by five stages to rediscover the depths of the empty quarter in the United Arab Emirates. The race will feature a total of 1,311 kilometres of Special Stages until 3 March.

Delivered by the Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO), this race is a true classic going now for its 32nd edition. Last year Monster Energy Honda Team riders were at the spotlight, with the second and third places for Brabec and Quintanilla.

The team had already had their first taste of the terrain with the shakedown. All riders were literally flying in the dunes in a short but very intense session that was crucial to make sure everything is ready for the action to come: Sunday is prologue time, followed by five Special Stages.

Ruben Faria - General Manager - “We are happy to be here for the second race of the World Rally Raid Championship with our four riders. Ricky is not one hundred percent fit after his Dakar crash, but he feels much better and has medical permission to race. The race is very special and this year should be similar to the previous edition, with most tracks composed with dunes. Here it is very important to start well and this means full concentration for the prologue, so let’s see how the boys do. All the team is united and focused for the moment and we can’t wait for the time to start the action. ”

Ricky Brabec 2 - “We are happy to be back. Not the start of the year we wanted but we know what we do is very dangerous and anything can happen at any moment. Anyways, we are looking back to getting up and on the bike here in Abu Dhabi even though we know we aren't 100% in race shape we will do our best at this rally always thinking about the next Dakar, that is our main objective. To understand the toughness of the rally and how fragile the body is, after already two neck surgeries it was best to make the call and seek professional help in the USA where we discovered the T1-T2 brake. After 6 weeks I am cleared to get back to activity slowly which put me here in Abu Dhabi”.

Pablo Quintanilla 7 - “Excluding the travel days, there was not much time to rest and prepare for the Abu Dhabi Desert after the Dakar Rally. When I got home in Chile I had the flu, so this was quite a setback. I did my best to get back on training but I don’t feel so strong now. But this is part of the job, we have to manage it the best way. I know this race is very demanding and even dangerous, so we need to focus right from the moment we do the shake down.”

José Ignacio Cornejo 11 - “We are ready for the second stop of the World Rally Raid Championship here in Abu Dhabi. This is a race I have always enjoyed a lot in the past. Now we have to focus and do all we can to be consistent and reach a solid race. Let’s see if we can improve our performance since the last Dakar Rally. I am fully motivated to start this race and very happy to be with all the team once again. ”

Adrien Van Beveren 42 - “I also had the flu but now I feel much better and ready to face this race. It seems the Dakar Rally was yesterday and after that I kept on training and racing - I have done the Touquet Enduro like always. This will be the first time I will race in Abu Dhabi during the winter, since In the past the race was in November. I was second once here and I feel very happy to be back in this fantastic landscape full of dunes. ”

Source: Monster Energy Honda Team

ADDC 2023: Off-Road talent arrives in Abu Dhabi ahead of thrilling showdown

This race is valid for both FIA and FIM Worl Rally-Raid Championships

Victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) marks a highlight in cross-country rallying achievements. A host of the world’s best off-road racers have arrived in the UAE capital determined to conquer the event.

Getting underway on February 25th, the seven day extravaganza will welcome even more competitors than in 2022, when the Desert Challenge took its place as the second round in the inaugural season of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC).

This weekend more than 150 competitors will take to the deserts of the Al Dhafra region, and the Desert Challenge has encouraged a breadth of talent, from 18-year-old UAE resident Alex McInness in the Moto R2 class and 18-year-old Spanish driver Pau Navarro in the T4 class all the way to France’s Claude Fournier competing in the T3.

The ADDC remains one of the most challenging events on the calendar as it continues to build on 32 years of heritage, and now brings one of the most dramatic routes to the FIA and FIM competitors in the W2RC.

Playing a crucial role in this work is Official Automotive Partner, Al-Futtaim Toyota. The Rally’s organisers, the Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO), and Al-Futtaim Toyota continue to build on a successful relationship, which introduced a fleet of vehicles for use by officials, marshalls, volunteers, and media during last year’s edition of the Desert Challenge.

Al-Futtaim Toyota’s cars will guarantee reliability in one of the toughest environments in the world once again as the event gets underway this weekend. A product of the UAE, Al-Futtaim Toyota brings a great heritage of its own to the historically-rich Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

Jacques Brent, Managing Director – Al-Futtaim Toyota, shared “Off-roading is an integral part of the Toyota culture and an inseparable part of our history in the UAE. Needless to say, Toyota and ADDC are the perfect fit in that sense. Supporting this popular challenge is an honour and truly builds on our motorsport credentials, alongside providing our fanbase real thrills in one of the UAE’s most dramatic landscapes.” As Official Automotive Partner, we are happy to provide our vehicles and expertise, and are excited toback EMSO in its mission to continue developing this iconic event.”

As well as bringing their expertise in support of the EMSO’s efforts, Toyota will also have a strong presence on-course in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

Defending W2RC champion Al-Attiyah looks to make it back-to-back driver and constructor titles for himself and Toyota Gazoo Racing this year. The Qatari could secure crucial points toward those goals at the ADDC, having won the event in a Toyota Hilux Overdrive in 2016 and 2021.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge brings the pinnacle of off-road racing in the UAE to the W2RC, as the EMSO continues to promote international events within the region.

Khalid Bin Sulayem, EMSO President, said: “We’re delighted that our strong relationship with Al-Futtaim Toyota continues to evolve and progress in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
“Al-Futtaim Toyota’s extensive experience of the rallying world, combined with the EMSO’s knowledge of the ADDC off-road racing in the UAE, come together to make the perfect formula for an exciting event in just a few days time.”
Al-Futtaim Toyota brings further credibility to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and its mission to provide opportunities and develop motorsport talent in the UAE.
This is exemplified by the recent launch of the Al-Futtaim Toyota Motorsport Academy. Becoming a 2023 Toyota UAE GR Ambassador for a year will include a Toyota GR vehicle, a trip to a global racing event where Toyota competes, and a chance to participate in the FIA Cross Country Challenge – all of which could make an immense difference for an upcoming driver.

Amongst this year’s ADDC competitors will be the lucky winners of the “Road to Dakar.” Organised by the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) as part of the event, the “Road to Dakar” is open to rookies in both the FIM Rally 2 and FIA SSV T4. The winning competitors from these categories will be awarded with free registration in the same category in the 2024 Dakar Rally.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafra Region; presented by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council; with the support of this year’s Energy partner ADNOC Distribution; Automotive partner Al-Futtaim Toyota; Abu Dhabi Aviation; Al Ain Water; Governmental support from the Ministry of Defence & UAE Armed Forces , Abu Dhabi Police,  Civil Defence, Abu Dhabi Distribution Co, Al Dhafra Region Municipality, and our media partner Abu Dhabi Sports TV.


Source EMSO / ADDC

ADDC 2023: Loeb and BRX lead into Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Sébastien Loeb leads the World Rally Raid Championship heading to the ADDC

Bahrain Raid Xtreme are back in action this week as leaders of the 2023 World Rally Raid Championship for round two of the title chase, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge offering 2,170kms of hot, demanding and relentless stages in what has become known as the world’s ultimate desert rally. Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin lead the championship with their Prodrive Hunter following the Dakar Rally opener in January and come to Abu Dhabi, after their record consecutive run of stage victories last month in Saudi Arabia, keen to return to the similar dunes just over the border from where they had so much success

With the lion’s share of the route based in the south of the UAE around the Al Dhafra region, it will be familiar territory for the two Prodrive Hunters entered on the event for Loeb/Lurquin and the GCK Motorsport entry of Guerlain Chicherit/Alex Winocq as the dunes form the most northerly part of the Empty Quarter, a huge desert that is 1,000kms long and 500kms wide that reaches over not only the UAE but also Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman. Seemingly endless, the dunes will provide some of the most spectacular scenery in this year’s five round championship that will lead on towards Mexico, Argentina and Morocco.

The Prodrive Hunter was unbeaten during the second week of the Dakar Rally across this terrain but with the pace of the championship there has been no stone left unturned in the preparation of the cars to keep BRX at the top of the Drivers, Co-Drivers and Manufacturers tables. This lead was achieved with strong team work, engineering prowess all while using Coryton’s sustainable fuel powering the Hunter’s 3.5 litre twin turbo engine that produces 80% less CO2 emissions to win nine out of the fourteen stages on Dakar plus a dominant 1-2-3 stage finish.

With the start of the rally in Abu Dhabi itself before moving on to Al Dhannah and Al Dhafra, this 32nd running of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is sure to be another classic in the ever-growing world of Rally Raid with the winners list since 1991 reading like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the sport making success here all the more significant. The prologue takes place on Sunday 26th February leading to 2,170kms and five stages based around the Qasr Al Sarah bivouac in the heart of the dunes before the finish on Friday 4th March back in Abu Dhabi on the shores of the Persian Gulf

Sébastien Loeb: “I’m very happy to return to Rally Raid after Dakar where we saw that we had some very good speed, especially in the dunes, so we are leading the championship. Of course it would be great to come out of Abu Dhabi still at the top of the points but I remember last year that it was not easy as Nasser (Al-Attiyah) was quick, but I hope that what we saw on Dakar means that we will be able to fight with him so that’s the main target for Fabian and I. I look forward to having a good clean rally so we can continue to build upon our current pace in the Prodrive Hunter.”

Guerlain Chicherit:The six weeks between the Dakar Rally and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge were not too much for me! My body was very tired after the 15 days of rallying so I’ve recovered and trained well with a specialist to start this second event of the season in the best condition. We know that our Hunter performs well, especially in the dunes that make the ADDC so special. It is an event that I like very much as I won it a long time ago in 2009.”

Gus Beteli, Team Principal: “We’re very much looking forward to Abu Dhabi especially after such a strong showing in the second week of Dakar over the similar dunes so we’re hoping to carry that pace over to these stages. As leaders of the World Rally Raid Championship the target is to finish well and maintain the speed we have with the Hunter before we move on to Mexico in April."

Source: Prodrive / Bahrain Raid Xtreme