The 27th Edition of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is a wrap.

by Bernie McGroarty on April 8, 2017, 12:52 am
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The 27th edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge finished today after a final 234 km (Stage 5) of tough desert action. Once again the desert terrain threw up unexpected challenges – a theme that has run the length of this annual event.

MINI crew Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT) and co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA) finished the race in third place overall. This success in only their third race together – and the first full season in a car for Abbu Issa – once again showed the competiveness spirit of this relatively new partnership is growing.

Talking from the X-raid bivouac directly after the race, Mohamed Abu Issa said: “The five days of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is, like it says, a challenge. It’s 90% sand, so any mistake or loss of concentration and straight away you are stuck for 20 minutes minimum. I learned a lot from this race. It’s my first year and I learned about being fast, consistent and to finish every day. I had no problems with my MINI; the MINI is known for being one of the most reliable cars.”

German pairing Stephan Schott and Andreas Schulz (#210) completed the race in 17th place. This was indeed a remarkable result considering they and their MINI race car ended upside in the dunes at one point during an incident on Stage 3. This lost them a significant amount of time but experience and determination, plus the reliability of their MINI race car, kicked in hard to see them cross the finish line after a gruelling five days.

Russian duo Vladimir Vasilyev and co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov started the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in a determined mood with thoughts on capturing their third Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge title. Unfortunately, a back injury obtained during Stage 3 led to Vasilyev’s race retirement and big disappointment.

Round four of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup is the Sealine Cross Country Rally, 16-21st April.

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