Abu Dhabi arrived: Sunderland and Peterhansel on the charts

Ten Brinke the biggest casualty as top drivers hit trouble while Cornejo makes big surge for bikes crown

Stéphane Peterhansel and Sam Sunderland remain the men to catch after a day of drama in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Powered by Nissan set the scene for a thrilling last leg sweeping back to the UAE capital.


While Peterhansel extended his overnight cars lead to 18 mins 35 secs from the UAE’s Khalid Al Qassimi, the trail of misfortunes which stopped some of his main rivals in their tracks on the 286.10km ADNOC stage suggest that victory is anything but certain.

While the French five-times winner and wife Andrea in a Mini John Cooper Works Rally had a smooth passage through the dunes of the Rub Al Khali, setting the day’s fastest time, three of the overnight top five had days to forget.

The biggest casualty was Bernhard Ten Brinke who was lying second overnight but went out of the rally after the second of two incidents in his Toyota Hilux Overdrive.

He reached the service halt with the roof damaged and a wheel needing to be replaced after the car rolled on the stage. Shortly after restarting, another accident ended with Ten Brinke and co-driver Tom Colsoul being transferred by helicopter to hospital in Madinat Zayed. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.

Czech Jakub Przygonski, fastest on the previous leg, failed to even start today’s stage because of mechanical problems, eventually returning his John Cooper Works Buggy to the bivouac with his challenge over for another year.

Defending champion Martin Prokop also saw his fading hopes disappear after a sequence of mechanical issues in his Ford Raptor RS Cross Country.

Al Qassimi in the Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 3008 DKR was one of several drivers to be stopped by soft sand early on. He recovered and will find confidence in the fact that he started the final leg with a far greater deficit two years ago and went on to win.

Finishing the day in third overall another 27 mins 37 secs adrift was Poland’s Aaron Domzala in a Toyota Hilux Overdrive. Completing the top six were Russia’s two-times winner Vladimir Vasilyev in a BMW X3 followed by the two CAN AM Maverick X3 buggies of Brazil’s Reinaldo Varela and American Casey Currie who are separated by just 43 seconds in the fight for the T3 title.

Press Release,

Marie-France Estenave pour MFE-Live.com

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