With many of the sport’s top drivers and riders assembling in the UAE capital for the start of the rally on 6 November, it has taken a complex team effort to set the stage for one of the sport’s most enduring tests on four and two wheels.
The cars, buggies, bikes and quads assembling at Yas Marina Circuit, the official HQ for the rally and its starting and finishing point, will tackle a new route laid out across the dramatic desert landscape of the Al Dhafra Region during months of preparation for their arrival.
Penetrating the northern fringe of the legendary Rub' al Khali, or Empty Quarter, desert stages of 262km, 333km, 293km, 251km and 216km are centred on a bivouac accommodating an 800-strong contingent of competitors, technicians, officials, medical staff, volunteers and media.
Some of the biggest dunes in the world stand in the way of competitors, and they won’t have to wait long for this year’s biggest test as the second of five desert stages flows into the Liwa Valleys for a classic cross country rally examination. This, and the following day’s leg, combine to form a new marathon stage for the bikes, with no outside assistance allowed in between.
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is the penultimate round of the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies for cars, and the final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship for bikes
Taking place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, the rally is supported by the Ruler's Representative Court Al Dhafra Region, UAE Armed Forces, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Abu Dhabi Police, ADNOC, Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi Municipality, Al Dhafra Region Municipality, Al-Ain Water and Tadweer.