The first leg of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was characterised by a 300 kilometre-long special test across a fast sand piste in the south of the Emirate. Then came massive dunes.
Joan Barreda started three minutes ahead of Marc Coma. The Spaniard took the provisional lead at checkpoint one. Barreda lost time afterwards when he had to follow a quad and ride through dust before making a pass. The final 100 km Barreda rode together with Coma from the front. The fellow countrymen jointly reached the finish.
Paulo Goncalves, the second Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain rider, was having a good day upon his first contact with the Abu Dhabi desert. The Portuguese came home in fourth place.
Paulo ´Speedy´ Goncalves: “I´m surprised how difficult this thing turned out to be. The Dakar dunes are almost easy compared to what we found here today. I had to get accustomed to the speed of the Abu Dhabi experts and it´s good I didn´t lose serious time.”
Marc Coma (SPA) KTM 3:33:22 hrs
Helder Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha 1:09 min behind
Sam Sunderland (UAE) Honda 2:42
Joan Barreda (SPA) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain 3:35
Paulo Goncalves (POR) Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain 6:48