The following is from Red Bull regarding last week’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which hosted round one of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship:
The new season of Cross-Country Rallies came with a quick reminder of just how unpredictable this sport can be. With defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah enjoying a comfortable lead on the final day of action, nobody was predicting he would roll out of the race with just a couple of hundred kilometres of racing remaining. Sadly for Al-Attiyah it was his turn to come off second best in the battle against the dunes of Abu Dhabi.
Al-Attiyah’s misfortune on the final stage elevated his fellow Qatari Mohamed Abu Issa into third place overall. Abu Issa has only recently made the switch from racing quads to competing in the car category so a podium result in Abu Dhabi is mightily impressive.
“Nothing is easy in the car category,” Abu Issa said after the race. “I’m learning everything from scratch so to finish on the podium is an amazing experience.”
Over in the two-wheeled contest, is was nip and tuck between a pair of Red Bull KTM Factory Team riders during the six days of racing.
and Austria’s Matthias Walkner traded stage wins and the overall lead as the rally snaked through the desert. Eventually it was 2017 Dakar Rally winner Sunderland who parked his bike on the top step of the podium. Fellow KTM riders Antoine Méo and Mohammed Balooshi also secured Top 10 finishes.