Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Saturday 1 April: Super Special Al Forsan International Sports Resort
This morning at 11h00, all the riders reported to the compulsory briefing given by the organiser on safety and the procedure for the Super Special (Prologue) as well as the first Special tomorrow.
At 15h00, in temperatures flirting with 38°C, they set out for the Super Special, a prologue that would determine the starting order for the first Special proper.
For the Super Special over dirt tracks, rather slippery after last week’s rains, the riders set out in groups of two on two tracks tracing a 2km loop. The riders traditionally start in reverse number order so it was the quads that led the way followed by the last of the motorcycles.
For the show, after No 1, Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna), local hero Mohammed al Balooshi (KTM) set out alongside a car, the one belonging to Sheik Al-Quassimi!
In the end, Sam Sunderland (KTM) topped the time sheet ahead of Antoine Meo (KTM), who put in a fine performance for his come-back race, and Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna).
In Quad, Fahad Al-Musallam clocked up the fastest time ahead of a Dutchman, Kees Koolen, and Alexis Hernandez from Peru.
In accordance with the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship Regulations, the first fifteen riders can choose their starting places. The fifteenth chooses first and the winner last, but the winner has priority over the others and the advantage of knowing what positions they have picked, so he winds up with just the spot he wants.
Tomorrow, the Special starts to the east of Arjan and finishes 19 km to the north of Hameem. The riders will then ride by link road to the bivouac at Qasr Al Sarab.
Provisional results of the Super Special
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1’47.5sec
2. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1’48.1sec
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna 450 Rally 1’50.2sec
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1’50.6sec
5. Pierre Alexander Renet (FRA) Husqvarna 450 Rally 1’51.3sec
6. Lee Stephens (AUS) KTM 500 EXC 1’52.7sec
7. Paolo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda 450 CRF Rally 1’52.8sec
8. Kevin Benavides (ARG) Honda 450 CRF Rally 1’55.5sec
9. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica 2’00.7sec
10. Benjamin Melot (FRA) KTM 450 Rally Replica 2’02.7sec
1. Fahad Al-Musallam (KUW) Yamaha Raptor 700R 1’49.2sec
2. Kees Koolen (NED) Barren Racer One 690 1’54.0sec
3. Alexis Hernandez Ponce (PER) Yamaha Raptor 700 R
4. Maxim Antimirov (KAZ) Honda TRX 700 1’56.4sec
5. Lucas Innocente (ARG) Yamaha Raptor 700 R 1’57.6sec
6. Rafal Sonik (POL) Honda TRX 700 1’57.8sec
7. Khalifa Al-Raeesi (ARE) Honda TRX 700 1’57.8sec
8. Rodolfo Schippers (GUA) Yamaha Raptor 700 R 1’57.9sec