The stunning Abu Dhabi dunes in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the scene for start of the “Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge” (#ADDC) last weekend, opening the 2016 FIM Cross Country World Championship. Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider Hélder Rodrigues (#11) was there with his 2016 Yamaha WR450F Rally to begin his season.
Only three months after the exhausting 2016 Dakar Rally, the Portuguese rider is in the starting-blocks and ready to prove the full potential of the 2016 Yamaha WR450F Rally.
The test began in the Persian Gulf sands, in the driest country of the world, with mechanics and athletes severely tested. The conditions make this race a good first test in preparation for a new Dakar season.
The 26th edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge consists of six stages in the hostile Liwa desert dunes, with an average of 250 km (155 miles) timed stage each day. The competitors final destination will be the famous Marina Yas Island circuit on Thursday April 7th.
Prologue: Following the bad weather that struck the region, the 2,7-kilometer’s prologue (1,67 miles) took place on a unusually muddy surface on Saturday April 2nd. By remaining within the top five on a technical route, Hélder Rodrigues and his Yamaha WR450F Rally positioned strategically for the first stage.
Stage 1: After starting in reverse order of the Prologue classification, Rodrigues took advantage of some tracks that allowed him to accelerate the pace on a fast first stage, despite strong winds sweeping through the dunes ridges, to secure a solid 4th position.
Stage 2: Unfortunately Rodrigues was stopped by a technical issue today. The team was able to resolve the matter this evening and will focus its efforts on improving the bike performances until the ADDC 2016 race finish line. The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider is currently positioned 31st in the overall ranking.
You can follow Hélder Rodrigues’ progress on the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge HERE.