The duo Leonid Novitskiy/Andreas Schulz (RUS/GER) and Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA/FRA) will take part in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the second round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, from April 2-7. Five stages lead the participants through the Liwa desert and around the bivouac in the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort.
After a successful start to the World Cup with second place in the Italian Baja two weeks ago, last year’s winner Leonid Novitskiy and co-driver Andreas Schulz are two of the favorites for this race. “The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is one of my favorite rallies. First time I was here in 2006 and I love the sandy tracks as well as the unique dunes. We will do our best to repeat last year’s result,” said Novitskiy.
At the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Peterhansel will compete in a MINI All4 Racing for the first time. The Frenchman is looking forward to the rally. “I am delighted to sit after the Dakar in a race car and I am very excited to see how the MINI All4 Racing is handling in the desert,” said Peterhansel. The MINI All4 Racing was becoming one of the spectators’ favorites during the Dakar Rally in January this year in Argentina and Chile. Previously, the X-raid team had delivered a masterpiece and built the car in just 90 days. Despite the short development time, the MINI All4 Racing was competitive from the beginning.
“The sand dunes of Abu Dhabi and the Desert Challenge are a great challenge for drivers and cars,” said X-raid team boss Sven Quandt. “This is just the thing for Stéphane and the MINI All4 Racing. Leonid has already shown last year that he has the territory under control. For him, it is important to finish the race and score points. “