2023-02-28 14:36
It was a very positive start of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023 for Monster Energy Honda Team. Pablo Quintanilla was the fastest rider on the six kilometres prologue held today in Al Dhannah (5:00 minutes) and Adrien Van Beveren was second (2 seconds away). Still recovering from his crash on the last Dakar Rally, Ricky Brabec made the sixth best time. José Ignacio Cornejo closed the top ten. According to the World Rally Raid Championship rules, all top 10 riders now have the chance to choose their starting order for tomorrow and this has an important strategic value.

After this warm up, the real competition starts tomorrow with the first stage connecting the city of Al Dhannah and Qasr Al Sarab – with a total of 404 kilometres. There will be first a 59 kilometres liaison to reach the start of the Special Stage. The 242 km on the chronograph will be composed of 43% of dunes, 52% of sandy tracks, 4% of chott and 1% of tarmac. The first bike will start at 8am local time (+4h GMT).

Ruben Faria
General Manager

“Today we had the start of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, a very hard rally with a lot of dunes and much navigation. I am happy with the outcome of the prologue, we were able to lead and get position one and second. All riders are in a good position for tomorrow. Now they have to choose their position for stage one and I think we have some advantage to start behind. This is for sure a good start to the race so now let's focus on keeping the team in the top standings . ”

Ruben Faria

Pablo Quintanilla 7

“Prologue went really well, it was a short one but a very technical track. The feeling was good. We started from behind and there were a lot of lines in the curves. Sometimes it was quite tricky to go, but I managed to do a good prologue. Now I have a good position for tomorrow so we will keep pushing to keep our lead.”

Pablo Quintanilla

Adrien Van Beveren 42

“Today I felt good on my Honda CRF 450 Rally and I am happy with my prologue. This was just a short warmup so now we have five more days of racing and I am looking forward to it. ”

Adrien Van Beveren

Ricky Brabec 2

“Prologue is done and it feels really nice to be back on my Honda CRF 450 Rally! There were a lot of straight lines out there so it was a fast track. Anyway this is just day one of five more, so let’s see how things shake up. One thing is for sure - I am very happy to be back!”.

Ricky Brabec

José Ignacio Cornejo 11

“I have concluded the prologue and that was good to me since I did better than other times. I really enjoyed riding in the soft sand and felt I was starting to get a loose rhythm. I feel quite ready and prepared for the competition, knowing we will face a lot of difficult dunes. The idea is go out there, do our best and also have a good time!”

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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