– MINI success at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with third place result.
– Mohamed Abu Issa with co-driver Xavier Panseri snatch third place in dramatic final race stage.
– Two crews of the MINI Family complete a “challenging” race.
The 27th edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge finished today after a final 234 km (Stage 5) of tough desert action. Once again the desert terrain threw up unexpected challenges – a theme that has run the length of this annual event.
MINI crew Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT) and co-driver Xavier Panseri (FRA) finished the race in third place overall. This success in only their third race together – and the first full season in a car for Abbu Issa – once again showed the competiveness spirit of this relatively new partnership is growing.
Talking from the X-raid bivouac directly after the race, Mohamed Abu Issa said: “The five days of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is, like it says, a challenge. It’s 90% sand, so any mistake or loss of concentration and straight away you are stuck for 20 minutes minimum. I learned a lot from this race. It’s my first year and I learned about being fast, consistent and to finish every day. I had no problems with my MINI; the MINI is known for being one of the most reliable cars.”
German pairing Stephan Schott and Andreas Schulz (#210) completed the race in 17th place. This was indeed a remarkable result considering they and their MINI race car ended upside in the dunes at one point during an incident on Stage 3. This lost them a significant amount of time but experience and determination, plus the reliability of their MINI race car, kicked in hard to see them cross the finish line after a gruelling five days.
Russian duo Vladimir Vasilyev and co-driver Konstantin Zhiltsov started the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in a determined mood with thoughts on capturing their third Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge title. Unfortunately, a back injury obtained during Stage 3 led to Vasilyev’s race retirement and big disappointment.
Round four of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup is the Sealine Cross Country Rally, 16-21st April.
Driver Co-driver # Team Position
Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT) Xavier Panseri (FRA) 209 X-raid Team 3rd
Stephan Schott (GER) Andreas Schulz (GER) 210 X-raid Team 17th