2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: 101 on entry list

2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: 101 on entry list

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Despite only being the second round of the World Rally-Raid Championship, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will be missing some major star power as Dakar Rally overall winners Team Audi Sport and Monster Energy Honda Rally Team are absent. Forty-five drivers and fifty-six riders will hope to step it up in their place.

While Dakar bike winner Honda will return for the BP Ultimate Rally Raid in April, Audi is gone entirely: although Audi finally won the Dakar on the FIA side with Carlos Sainz and had plans of racing for the championship, a lack of suitable parts expedited their intended shutdown at the end of 2024 to Tuesday. Sainz, Mattias Ekström, and Stéphane Peterhansel are permitted to race for other teams and classes, though none are taking part. Peterhansel’s co-driver Édouard Boulanger will still show up to Abu Dhabi as the new navigator for Nasser Al-Attiyah, who parted ways with Mathieu Baumel after a successful decade in rally raid.

After his Dakar defence ended in disaster, Al-Attiyah hopes to make up lost ground with Prodrive. His ally Sébastien Loeb and Bahrain Raid Xtreme, who won five stages at Dakar, are not entered, though brothers Cristian and Marcos Baumgart will fill the void. With Audi and Loeb gone, the eighteen-driver Ultimate class is all the more up for grabs. Sainz’s absence means Toyota will have an opportunity to take the points lead courtesy of Overdrive Racing’s Guillaume de Mévius and Guerlain Chicherit, who respectively trail Sainz by eighteen and twenty points. Fellow Toyota driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi, fresh off winning the FIA Baja World Cup’s Saudi Baja, is aiming to go back-to-back in the ADDC.

A championship lead change is also guaranteed in Challenger as Mitch Guthrie is not racing either, which Rokas Baciuška hopes to capitalise on; Baciuška exited Dakar seventeen points behind Guthrie. Dakar winner Cristina Gutiérrez is entered but not competing for the championship.

Yasir Seaidan finished third in SSV at Dakar, which gave him the category’s points lead as Xavier de Soultrait and Jérôme de Sadeleer were not eligible for points. He will have a new co-driver for Abu Dhabi in Michaël Metge, who replaces his younger brother Adrien.

RallyGP, despite being the top bike class, will feature a paltry four entrants. Honda made up the bulk of the class at Dakar but is skipping Abu Dhabi to give their six riders a rest (except for Tosha Schareina, who is competing in this weekend’s FIM E-Xplorer World Cup), while defending champion Luciano Benavides of Husqvarna as well as the KTM and GasGas factory teams are not racing for points. With so many riders skipping Abu Dhabi, Hero MotoSports has a golden opportunity as Ross Branch is virtually assured to take the points lead, currently trailing Honda’s Ricky Brabec by eight points, and Sebastian Bühler will try to bounce back from his Dakar crash. The only other two RallyGP riders entered, Mohammed Al-Balooshi and Aaron Marè, are not W2RC-eligible; Al-Balooshi is the reigning FIM Bajas World Cup champion who recently won the Saudi Baja, while Marè enters his first W2RC race since the 2022 Dakar Rally, incidentally racing for Hero that time.

Rally2 features forty-seven riders but the top two Romain Dumontier and Bradley Cox are not among them. Third-placed Jean-Loup Lepan will try to leapfrog both, tailing the former by fourteen, while series regular Michael Docherty is seeking to establish a foothold after crashing out of the opener. Lepan is one of just four riders in the top ten standings at Abu Dhabi alongside Tobias Ebster (seventh), Konrad Dąbrowski (ninth), and Jan Brabec (tenth). Although outside the top ten, David McBride and Oran O’Kelly have a chance to make significant leaps as well.

Ebster won both the ADDC in Rally2 and the Road to Dakar challenge in 2023, the latter granting him free registration for the Dakar. Justin Gerlach and Jonathan Savel hopes to do the same for Dakar 2025 through the RtD after coming up short last year, while Willem Avenant is striving for it in his first major step towards ‘decoding’ Dakar.

Saulius Klevinskas, a former goalkeeper who played for the Lithuanian national team, enters his first W2RC race after mainly competing in amateur rallies like the Breslau Rallye and Fenix Rally. Another series newcomer is Christoph Lischka, the head of development for BMW Motorrad.

Although all Quad riders at Dakar are registered for the W2RC, Hani Al-Noumesi is the only one taking part at Abu Dhabi. Abdulaziz Ahli will be going for his fourth consecutive ADDC win in the class. Kamil Wiśniewski returns to the championship after missing Dakar with a knee injury.

The 2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge begins with the Prologue stage on 26 February and runs through 2 March.

FIA entry list

Ultimate

NumberDriverCo-DriverTeamVehicleClass201Guillaume de MéviusXavier PanseriOverdrive RacingToyota Hilux OverdriveT1+202Guerlain ChicheritAlex WinocqOverdrive RacingToyota Hilux OverdriveT1+203Lucas MoraesArmand MonleónToyota Gazoo RacingToyota GR DKR HiluxT1+204Martin ProkopViktor ChytkaORLEN Jipocar TeamFord RaptorT1+205Denis KrotovKonstantin ZhiltsovOverdrive RacingToyota Hilux OverdriveT1+206Nasser Al-AttiyahÉdouard BoulangerNasser RacingProdrive HunterT1+207Cristian BaumgartAlberto AndreottiX Rally TeamProdrive HunterT1+208Saood VariawaFrançois CazaletToyota Gazoo RacingToyota GR DKR HiluxT1+209Yazeed Al-RajhiTimo GottschalkOverdrive RacingToyota Hilux OverdriveT1+210Juan Cruz YacopiniDaniel OliveirasOverdrive RacingToyota Hilux OverdriveT1+211Seth QuinteroDennis ZenzToyota Gazoo RacingToyota GR DKR HiluxT1+212Marcos BaumgartKleber CinceaX Rally TeamProdrive HunterT1+213Pau NavarroAndreas SchulzX-raid Mini JCW TeamMini John Cooper Works Rally PlusT1+214Aliyyah KolocSébastien DelaunayBuggyra ZM RacingRed-Lined REVOT1+215Lionel BaudLucie BaudOverdrive RacingToyota Hilux OverdriveT1+216Yahya Al-Helei*Khalid Al-KendiYahya Al-HeleiNissan Pick-UpT1.1217Ahmed El Shamy*Hassan ObaidAhmed El ShamyFast & Speed 2WDT1.2218Roman Starikovich*Bert HeskesRoman StarikovichToyota HiluxT1.1
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

Challenger

NumberDriverCo-DriverTeamVehicle301Rokas BaciuškaOriol VidalCan-Am Factory TeamCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo302Marcelo GastaldiCarlos SachsBBR MotorsportMCE-5 Taurus T3 Max303Nicolás CavigliassoValentina PertegariniWevers SportMCE-5 Taurus T3 Max304Austin JonesOriol MenaCan-Am Factory TeamCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo305Dania AkeelStéphane DupleWevers SportMCE-5 Taurus T3 Max306Cristina Gutiérrez*Pablo Moreno HueteRed Bull Off-Road Junior TeamMCE-5 Taurus T3 Max307Annett Quandt*Annie SeelX-raid Yamaha Supported TeamYamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype308Hernán Garcés*Juan Pablo LatrachSouth Racing Can-AmCan-Am Maverick309Khalid Aljafla*Andrei RudnitskiAljafla RacingCan-Am Maverick R310Pál Lónyai*Filippo IppolitoX-raid Yamaha Supported TeamYamaha YXZ1000R Turbo Prototype311Gunter Hinkelmann*Fabrizio BianchiniBBR MotorsportMCE-5 Taurus T3 Max312Puck Klaassen*Augusto SanzWevers SportMCE-5 Taurus T3 Max

SSV

NumberDriverCo-DriverTeamVehicle400Yasir SeaidanMichaël MetgeMMP CompétitionCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo401Sara PriceJeremy GraySouth Racing Can-AmCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo402João FerreiraFilipe PalmeiroSouth Racing Can-AmCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo403Sebastián GuayasamínFernando Matias AcostaFN Speed TeamCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo404Enrico GaspariAlberto MarconTH-Trucks TeamPolaris RZR Pro R405Ricardo RamiloFausto MotaScuderia Ramilo RodamotoCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo406Rebecca BusiSergio LafuenteOnlyFans RacingCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo407Michele CinottoMaurizio DominellaXtremeplusPolaris RZR Pro R408Claude FournierSerge GounonMMP CompétitionCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo409Robert Szustkowski*Albert GryszcukRobert SzustkowskiPolaris RZR Pro R410Piotr Beaupre*Jarosław KazberukPiotr BeauprePolaris RZR Pro R411Mansour Al-Helei*Mohammed HamriMansour Al-HeleiCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo412Atif Alzarouni*Mohammed Hasan InnabAtif AlzarouniYamaha YXZ1000R SS413Justas Grendelis*Simonas RamanauskasJustas GrendelisCan-Am Maverick XRS Turbo414Pietro Cinotto*Alberto BertoldiXtremeplusPolaris RZR Pro R

FIM entry list

RallyGP

NumberRiderTeamBike14Sebastian BühlerHero MotoSportsHero 450 Rally25Mohammed Al-Balooshi*MX Ride DubaiKTM 450 Rally44Aaron Marè*SRG MotorsportsKTM 450 Rally Replica46Ross BranchHero MotoSportsHero 450 Rally

Rally2

NumberRiderTeamBike22Michael DochertySRG MotorsportsHusqvarna FC 450 Rally26Konrad DąbrowskiDUUST Rally TeamKTM 450 Rally Replica33Jan BrabecStrojrent RacingKTM 450 Rally Replica34Jonathan Savel* #Jonathan SavelKTM 450 Rally Replica35Damien Bataller* #Team DB RacingKTM 450 Rally36Jean-Philippe Revolte* #JBS MotoKTM 450 Rally37Jiří BrožSRG MotorsportsKTM 450 Rally Replica38Sarath Mohan*SRG MotorsportsHusqvarna FE 45040Hamdan Al-Ali* #Hamdan Al-AliHusqvarna FE 45041Badr Al-Hamdan* #Badr Al-HamdanYamaha WR450F Rally43Happy Verma*SRG MotorsportsKTM 450 EXC-F45Jatin Jain*SRG MotorsportsKove 450 Rally47Blas Zapag Peralta*HT Rally Raid HusqvarnaHusqvarna FR 450 Rally48Axel Mustad*HT Rally Raid HusqvarnaHusqvarna FR 450 Rally49Nerimantas Jucius*HT Rally Raid HusqvarnaHusqvarna FR 450 Rally50Willem Avenant*HT Rally Raid HusqvarnaHusqvarna FR 450 Rally51Cornelus Koolen*HT Rally Raid HusqvarnaHusqvarna FR 450 Rally53Filip Grot*DUUST Rally TeamKTM 450 Rally Replica55Ehab Al-Hakeem* #Ehab Al-HakeemYamaha WR450F Rally56Gediminas Satkus*AG Dakar SchoolKTM 450 Rally57Saulius Klevinskas*AG Dakar SchoolKTM 450 Rally58Abdulhaim Al-Mogeera*Abdulhaim Al-MogeeraKTM 450 Rally59Martin Chalmers* #Martin ChalmersGasGas 450 Rally60Stephan Preuss* #Stephan PreussKTM 450 Rally61Floridan Dietrich* #Floridan Dietrich*KTM 450 Rally62Christoph Lischka*Christoph LischkaKTM 450 Rally63Stephan Breisach*Stephan BreisachKTM 450 Rally64Lothar HartmannLothar Hartmann*KTM 450 Rally65Justin Gerlach*Justin GerlachKTM 450 Rally66Iván Merichal Resina*Xraids ExperienceKTM 450 Rally Factory Replica67Rolando Martinez*Xraids ExperienceKTM 450 Rally Factory Replica68Murun Purevdorj*Murun PurevdorjKTM 450 EXC69Marwan Al-Rahmani*ADNOCKTM 450 Rally70Mykolas Paulavičius*DUUST Rally TeamKTM 450 Rally Replica71Edvard Sokolovskij*AG Dakar SchoolKTM 450 Rally76Jean-Loup LepanDUUST Rally TeamKTM 450 Rally Replica77Oran O’KellyVendetta Racing UAEKTM 450 Rally80Jack Murray*Jack MurrayHusqvarna 450 Rally81Jacek Bartoszek*MX Ride DubaiHusqvarna 450 Rally82Sultan Al-BlooshiMX Ride DubaiHusqvarna 450 Rally90William McBride*Vendetta Racing UAEKTM 450 Rally Replica91Thomas Childs*Vendetta Racing UAEKTM 450 Rally92David Mabbs*Vendetta Racing UAEHusqvarna FR 450 Rally93David McBrideVendetta Racing UAEHusqvarna FR 450 Rally94Abdulla Lanjawi*SRG MotorsportsKove 450 Rally95Leo Conaboy*Leo ConaboyKTM 450 Rally96Tobias EbsterSRG MotorsportsGasGas 450 Rally
Bold – Junior TrophyItalics – Veteran Trophy# – Malle Moto

Quad

NumberRiderTeamQuad172Kamil Wiśniewski*ORLEN TeamYamaha Raptor 700173Paweł Otwinowski*DUUST Rally TeamYamaha Raptor 700174Abdulaziz AhliAbu Dhabi TeamYamaha Raptor 700179Hani Al-NoumesiHani Al-NoumesiYamaha Raptor 700180Hans Brehmer*Hans BrehmerYamaha Raptor 700

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