1500hrs, 07 November, 2021

Competitor comments after Stage 1: Ruler’s Representative Court Al Dhafrah Region


16        Ross Branch (BWA)

“It’s good fun. The dunes can be dangerous. I gave myself a few frights, but all in all it was good. It’s really hot, but I think I did okay today.”

52        Matthias Walkner (AUT)

“Everyone was pushing hard, so it was a difficult day. I enjoyed the terrain, but got tired towards the end because of the pace.”

2          Franco Caimi (ARG)

“Today was really good. I enjoyed the dunes and managed to get into a good rhythm. It’s my first time here and it is a good experience to make this contact with the desert.”

11        Daniel Sanders (AUS)

“It was an interesting day for me. This is my first time here, so I was just learning the dunes and terrain because it’s a little different to what I rode.

“The pace wasn’t quite enough to stay up front, but it was a good start to the first stage. There have been no crashes and no really big mistakes, so I think it’s a good spot to start tomorrow.”

42        Adrien Van Beveren (FRA)

“Today was very fast and I am happy to open up the route from 100 kms. I had to be very careful with so many drops in order to stay safe.”

29        Andrew Short (USA)

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s open desert, so you really have to read the terrain. It’s been a good first day, but I wasn’t fast enough.

“Being so close to Dakar, you want to go fast, but you’ve got to stay smart as well.”

116      Jacob Argubright (USA)

“My first World Series Rally and I really enjoyed. There are some big drops along the way and this is a good experience for me and a great learning curve.”

17        Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE)

“I am happy with today’s ride, the first one has been completed and ticked off in my book. I am happy with my bike despite it being an old (2016) model. Now it’s back to the bivouac to prepare myself mentally, and the bike for tomorrow.”

21        Sultan Al Balooshi (UAE)

“A really nice day for my first Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, and especially to be racing with my big brother. It’s been a good first day.”

26        Konrad Dabrowski (POL)

“I had a few issues at first as I crashed in slow speed. The sand was soft and I went over the bar. My rhythm was getting better and better, and then I burnt my clutch, so I had to slow down a bit to make the bike reach the finish.

“I learnt a lot from the fast guys today as they went past me. It was fun.”

48        David Mabbs (GBR)

“It’s been a fun day. I took it easy and rode at my own pace, and yet I enjoyed it.

“I has been two years since I last raced on a bike and this is really a big shakedown for the Dakar Rally.”

19        Mishal Al Ghuneim (SAU)

“It’s so good to be back at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge especially after my injuries. Today was perfect and I am feeling strong and looking forward to tomorrow.”

13        Anastasiya Nifontova (MFR)

“These were tricky dunes and plains. I feel really comfortable with the bike, although it’s my first time in almost two years after my crash at the Dakar Rally, where I broke my back and collarbone.

“I played it very carefully and just enjoyed the race. I like it very much here.”