The legendary UAE Desert Challenge, one of the world's most prestigious international cross country rallies founded by Emirati Motorsport legend and ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem back in 1991,and, over the years has seen many of the biggest names in international motorsport tackle the dunes of the UAE, including Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae, Ari Vatenan, and Heinz Kinigadner. Following his victory in 2015, Marc Coma currently holds the record of eight ADDC titles, winning all but two rallies between 2006 and his retirement in 2015.
The event entered a new era in March 2009 when it was renamed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with the five-day motor sport spectacular being staged in its entirety across Abu Dhabi emirate under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi Government, with the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) retaining its event organizational role.
Having celebrated its 26th event in 2016, the 2017 event returns bigger and better as the opening round of the 2017 FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship and the third round of the 2017 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, continuing its role as one of Abu Dhabi’s most historic sporting events. This season will see the event follow on from the Dubai International Baja (9th to 11th March 2017), which makes its debut as a round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup (making the UAE the only country to host two events in that championship) and the FIM Bajas World Cup.
While previous Desert Challenges have seen motorbike, quad-bike, four wheel and truck competitors battle cross-emirate stages, the event in recent years has gradually migrated towards a majority routing through Abu Dhabi's majestic desert areas.
During the Challenge, competitors face two days of documentation and scrutineering on a Thursday and Friday, before a Super Special Stage on a Saturday to decides the starting order. The rally then begins in earnest first thing Sunday morning when the competitors leave the initial Rally HQ at the famous Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to begin five days in the Liwa Desert of the Empty Quarter.

FIA titles for which the rally counts:
  • One World Cup for Drivers;
  • One World Cup for Co-Drivers;
  • One World Cup for teams;
  • One FIA Cup for T2 drivers;
  • One FIA Cup for T2 teams;
  • One FIA Cup for T3 drivers;
  • One FIA Cup for T3 teams;
  • One FIA Trophy for drivers of two-wheel drive cars;
  • One FIA Trophy for two-wheel drive cars Manufactures
And also for the national Championship
The race also makes part of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship.

Automobile and Touring Club of UAE
P. O. Box 5078, Dubai,
United Arab Emirates

Phone: +971 4 2961122
Fax: +971 4 2961133

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge presents an ideal opportunity, in exotic surroundings, to follow a major event in the motorsport calendar.
The rally is the opening round of both the FIA and the FIM Cross Country Rally World Cups and sets the pace for the 2012 championship titles at stake in the various categories.
Individuals, tour operators, sponsors, manufacturers and groups who wish to watch the action and integrate with the event, may join the competitors at the Bivouac, or the desert camp.
While travel arrangements and accommodation, before and following the rally, cannot be arranged by the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge organisers, tented accommodation and catering, at the Bivouac, as well as attendance at the Gala Dinner/Prizegiving, can be arranged by mailing your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..