Entries Open for 2013 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the Middle East’s first World Cup and World Championship motor sport event, returns for its 23rd edition from 4-11 April, 2013

Taking place entirely within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the spectacular event once again takes competitors on a challenging adventure through the spectacular desert terrain of the Western Region of Al Gharbia.

Reaching deep into the Liwa desert, the route crosses some of the most demanding landscapes on earth, testing drivers, riders, and machinery to the limit in the crossing of towering dunes and desert plains.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, and is organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE), the national motor sport authority.

The ATCUAE has now opened registration to competitors driving cars and trucks complying with FIA T1, T2, T3 and T4 technical regulations, and motorcyclists and quads running under the auspices of the FIM.

The 2013 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will be the second of eight rounds in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, and the first of six rounds in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Since its launch in 1991, the Desert Challenge has produced some of the most dramatic action in international cross country rallying, and has brought the best out of many of the world’s top drivers and riders.

No-one has made a bigger impact on the event than Jean-Louis Schlesser, who wrapped up an historic sixth Desert Challenge title last year to become the most successful driver in the event’s illustrious history.

Maintaining his amazing 100 per cent record in the event, the UAE’s Yahya Bel Helei marked his 22nd consecutive Desert Challenge appearance by capturing the T2 title and finishing fourth


Like Schlesser, Spanish rider Marc Coma has also become a regular in the event’s roll of honour over the years, and he too celebrated a sixth win, in the fiercely competitive bikes category.

Carrying the UAE flag to victory, Emirati Obaid Al Kitbe clinched the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge quad bike crown for the second time.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, ATCUAE President and founder of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, said: “We are very grateful to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his consistent encouragement and support which is vital to ensure the continued success of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

“This is an event which showcases so much of the unique natural beauty of the UAE deserts, and we look forward once again to welcoming competitors, officials, and representatives of the media from around the world, particularly as many are now good friends of the event, and of the Emirates, who return year after year.”