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  • Race will start from Al Dhannah for the first time
  • ADNOC Distribution to support competition during its entire journey around Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 8th February 2023: The stage is set for an Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) unlike any other, with competitors from all over poised to take on the longest, most exciting route in the rally’s 32-year history fuelled and protected by energy partner, ADNOC Distribution.

Abu Dhabi’s traditional desert rally-raid continues to evolve, as the Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO) works towards a bright future for the event alongside Energy Partner, ADNOC Distribution.

As the ADDC progresses into an exciting era as part of the World Rally-Raid Championship, the EMSO and ADNOC Distribution have been the engines of change. 2023 sees the partners take the Prologue of the Desert Challenge to Al Dhannah, marking a first in the rally’s history.

EMSO President Khalid Bin Sulayem said: “Our long-standing partnership with ADNOC Distribution has been an essential part of the strategic development of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

“We’re grateful that our collaboration with one of the UAE’s leading companies has ensured that this rally holds its place at the heart of the country and the world of cross-country rallying. This 2023 edition will build on that history, as the ADDC continues to progress into a new era with the World Rally-Raid Championship.”

Teams will showcase their vehicles in the heart of Abu Dhabi at the ADDC HQ where fans will witness teams preparing their engines for the ultimate in motorsports performance with help from ADNOC Distribution in fueling their journeys.

Drivers and riders will then venture out into the sands of the Al Dhafra region, with some in pursuit of points for the FIA and FIM World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC) on the 2170 kilometre course.

The rally not only marks the second round in the W2RC since the championship’s inception last year, but also another milestone in the long-term collaboration between the EMSO and ADNOC Distribution.

As Energy Partner ADNOC Distribution will supply the Super 98 premium fuel, a product extracted and refined in the UAE, and specially designed to offer advanced care and efficiency in demanding environments such as the ones ADDC’s competitors live and overcome every day when racing.  ADNOC Distribution’s support also includes the setting of refueling points for competitors with the use of advanced MyStation trucks in the most remote corners of the Empty Quarter ensuring engines maintain peak performance.

Jet fuel Search and Rescue helicopters which provide potentially life-saving aerial assistance. Plus, ADNOC Voyager lubricants to protect engines and ensure efficiency as the race continues.

Bader Saeed Al Lamki, CEO, ADNOC Distribution, said: “Our partnership with The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge integrates perfectly with our business strategy and passion for all kinds of rewarding journeys. As the official Energy Partner, we look forward to supporting the contenders with our world-class range of products and services throughout this exhilarating route. We are excited to provide the ultimate protection for the racers’ engines and help them at all stages to push their performance again this year.”

The Prologue of this year’s Desert Challenge will take the rally to Al Dhannah for the first time. This short 5km stage is not only a fantastic opportunity for spectators to watch the best rally-raid drivers and riders in action, but also serves as a qualifier for the next day – the top ten competitors in the Prologue will choose their starting position for Stage 1.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is indisputably a race of attrition, and in a sport as competitive and demanding as cross-country rally, the starting position can make or break the entire race. This is especially true of the Moto Rally GP competitors, who have the difficult task of opening the route in the desert where there are no tracks to guide them.

Evolving the route to bring the prestigious event to Al Dhannah marks exciting progress for the ADDC, as the EMSO and ADNOC Distribution look to push further development in these areas and bring the racing action closer to the fans.

As competitors ready themselves for the exhilarating Abu Dhabi event, Sébastien Loeb and Kevin Benavides currently top the provisional standings in the FIA and FIM categories respectively. With racing getting underway on February 25th, find out more about the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafra Region; presented by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council; with the support of this year’s Energy partner ADNOC Distribution; Automotive partner Al-Futtaim Toyota; Abu Dhabi Aviation; Al Ain Water; Governmental support from the Ministry of Defence & UAE Armed Forces , Abu Dhabi Police,  Civil Defence, Abu Dhabi Distribution Co, Al Dhafra Region Municipality, and our media partner Abu Dhabi Sports TV.

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