ADDC 2024: Chicherit strikes back as Mare doubles down

ADDC 2024: Chicherit strikes back as Mare doubles down

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The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge caravan rolled out of Al Dhannah this morning and will spend the next three nights in Mezaira'a. It is a trip down memory lane because the last time that the race visited this town was all the way back in 2002.
Three categories saw leading competitors drop out of contention in the first point-to-point stage of the rally, which took the field to Liwa Oasis.
Overall leader Michael Docherty (SRG Motorsports) crashed out of the FIM motorbike race. Aaron Mare (Hero MotoSports) emerged victorious and vaulted into the lead. Abdulaziz Ahli made it two in a row in the quad race.
Guillaume de Mévius (Overdrive Racing), second overall in the car competition this morning, had to withdraw due to a nasty dune landing. His brother in arms, Guerlain Chicherit, prevailed over Nasser Al Attiyah, who defended his overall lead. Jones and Baciuška secured a new double for Can-Am Factory in the Challenger class. Their SSV stablemate João Ferreira succumbed to a mechanical, clearing the path for Yasir Seaidan (MMP) to take the win.


Michael Docherty probably had a hard time falling asleep last night. The last time he had entered the ADDC, back in 2022, the South African had made a premature exit during stage 2 at a time when he was leading the race. His victory in yesterday's stage put the Emirati-based rider in the exact same position going into today's special. Disaster struck a mere 5 km into the course, when he crashed and hurt his leg. Aaron Mare and Konrad Dąbrowski spent almost half an hour at his side, leaving Jean-Loup Lepan, Ross Branch and their pursuers to duke it out at the front. The duo capitalised on the traces left by the latter to storm to victory ahead of the Frenchman. The Botswanan, on the other hand, was slapped with a 15-minute penalty for changing his engine the day before. At the end of the day in Mezaira'a, one Saffa has replaced another at the top of the ADDC leader board. Aaron Mare is the new top dog with 7′28″ in hand over Konrad Dąbrowski and 21′13″ over Jean-Loup Lepan. Ross Branch slipped a bit further away from the top 2 and is now 45′52″ behind his teammate with just three days to go —a daunting challenge even for the runner-up in the last Dakar. Jan Brabec (Strojent Story) is fifth, more than one hour off the pace.

Meanwhile, Abdulaziz Ahli wrote another chapter in his fairy tale in the quad race. The local hero is blasting over the dunes like nobody's business in a repeat of last year's performance. The Emirati has scored back-to-back wins over Kamil Wiśniewski (Orlen), who finished almost an hour back today. Ahli leads the overall by three hours on the Pole and five over Hani Alnoumesi.


Guillaume de Mévius could not have asked for a better introduction to the T1+ class since his debut in the Moroccan finale of the 2023 W2RC. The Dakar runner-up was also in second place overall in the ADDC going into today's stage, but 80 km into the special, the man who joined Guerlain Chicherit in driving an Overdrive Racing pick-up truck adorned with references to the American TV show The Fall Guy was not as fortunate as Colt Seavers. There were no special effects when he landed from a broken dune that only Nasser Al Attiyah had cleared before, explaining the lack of braking marks that would have alerted the Belgian to the danger. Instead, Grégoire de Mévius's son hurt his lower back and had to ask the organiser to airlift him to the nearest hospital for a work-up. In the meantime, Chicherit romped home ahead of the reigning world champion, who conceded a mere 1′39″ to the Frenchman while padding his lead over his closest rivals. There were few smiles on the faces of Guerlain and his clique: "Alex and I won the stage and moved up from seventeenth to sixth overall, 17′13″ behind the leader, Nasser Al Attiyah, but… There is a 'but'. My teammate got hurt in a nasty dune landing. The first examinations have revealed a vertebral compression fracture, so he'll have to take a rest whether he likes it or not. The whole team joins me in wishing him a swift recovery so he can be back among us soon and continue the adventure we began together in January".

Al Attiyah leads a host of Toyotas in the overall, with Lucas Moraes (Toyota Gazoo Racing) at 8′16″, Juan Cruz Yacopini (Overdrive Racing) at 10′13″, Seth Quintero (Toyota Gazoo Racing) at 12′37″, Yazeed Al Rajhi fifth at 15′08″ and Chicherit. Martin Prokop (Orlen Jipocar) dropped over 20 minutes today after "Shrek", his Ford Raptor, ended up with a broken shock absorber. The Czech, who came up one place short of victory in both of the previous two editions of the ADDC, slipped from fifth to fourteenth overall.

The Can-Am Factory drivers Austin Jones and Rokas Baciuška locked up the Challenger top 2 again. As it stands, the American leads the Lithuanian by 6′03″. This time round, Paulo Ferreira was unable to replicate the exploits of his Can-Am Factory teammates in the SSV race. The Portuguese driver's mechanical troubles played into the hands of Yasir Seaidan (MMP). The Saudi also seized the overall lead ahead of Sebastián Guayasamín (FN Speed) and Rebecca Busi (OnlyFans Racing). Ferreira is now more than three hours down.


Source: A.S.O. / W2RC
© A.S.O./B.Roux/DPPI

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