Top drivers to compete in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

By Angel Chan

ABU DHABI 13 March 2018: The 28th edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, one of the world’s top cross country rallies, will be held from 24th to 29th March.

The event forms the third round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies and the opening round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes and quads, said Wam.

Many of the world’s top cross country rally drivers and riders will share the World Cup stage with leading Emirati and other UAE-based competitors in a rally which sweeps across some of the most spectacular and testing desert terrain on earth.

With the eyes of the cross country rallying world focusing on Abu Dhabi again, the UAE’s Khalid Al Qassimi will be aiming for a second successive Desert Challenge triumph in partnership with French co-driver Xavier Panseri in their Peugeot Abu Dhabi Racing Team 3008 DKR.

While a first leg mechanical problem ruined his hopes of victory in last weekend’s Dubai International Baja, round two of the FIA World Cup series, Al Qassimi bounced back in great style the following day to win the second leg.

Among his biggest rivals in Abu Dhabi will be the winners in Dubai, Poland’s Jakub Przygonski with Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul in a Mini John Cooper Also in a powerful cars line-up will be Russia’s two-times Desert Challenge winners Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov in the Mini they took to second place last weekend, and Saudi Arabia’s Yasir Hamed Seaidan with Russian co-driver Aleksei Kuzmich, third in Dubai in a Toyota Hilux.

Relishing another opportunity to test himself against the best riders in the world, Emirati Mohammed Al Balooshi returns to action in great spirits following his Dubai International Baja bikes triumph.

The Desert Challenge will be based at Yas Marina Circuit, and competitors start arriving at the Rally HQ on Thursday week (22 March) for official documentation and scrutineering of all vehicles.

The fist competitive action sees the cars, buggies, bikes and quads tackling an exciting super special spectator stage on the Grand Prix circuit at 3pm on Saturday week (24 March) before heading out into the Al Dafrah Region the next morning for five dramatic desert stages.