• A new route, bringing the prestigious event to both Al Dhannah and Mezair’Ah in the Liwa Region, marks exciting progress for the ADDC

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 17th February 2024: The stage is set for an Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) unlike any other, with competitors from around the world poised to take on a new challenging route for the rally’s 33rd edition.

Now in its third year as part of the FIA & FIM World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), Abu Dhabi’s thrilling desert rally-raid continues to evolve, as the Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO) works to fine-tune the event, introducing even more demanding sections with the support of Energy Partner, ADNOC Distribution.

Bader Saeed Al Lamki, CEO of ADNOC Distribution, commented: “As the leading mobility retailer in the UAE, we are pleased to extend our long-standing partnership with the Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO), becoming the official Energy Partner of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in 2024. By delivering the highest-grade energy for powerful engines, we’re offering optimum performance allowing the race contenders to compete at the highest level on this exhilarating route.”

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge marks the second round of the W2RC Rally-Raid Championship and is yet another milestone in the long-term collaboration between the EMSO and ADNOC Distribution. The energy partner will be providing refuelling stations along the length of the 2250-kilometre course, including in the most remote areas of the globally famous Empty Quarter, known locally as the Rub Al Khali.

This year represents the 27th anniversary of ADNOC Distribution providing ADDC competitors with energy solutions and fuel-logistics across the desert, and to mark the occasion one of the company’s employees, Marwan Alrahmani, will enter the race riding a motorcycle. ADNOC Distribution has shown nearly 30 years of support for the Desert Challenge, and the presence of one of its employees takes its involvement to a new level.

Following last year’s successful Prologue in Al Dhannah City, the aim once again is to take this epic challenge closer to the public, with a two-night bivouac in the city and, for the first time, a second rally bivouac in Mezair’ah to the south.

Al Dhannah City was inaugurated by the inspiring and visionary late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and now has a population of over 30,000. In line with government policy of making major sporting events part of local communities, the two-night bivouac will be in downtown Al Dhannah City, featuring presentations and events for families and racing fans, with drivers, riders, mechanics, and team staff available for meet and greets, and to talk about the challenges of the rally.

The 33rd Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will kick off with the 5km ADNOC Oasis Prologue in Al Dhannah City on February 26th. Stage 1, The Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafrah Region Stage, will run the following day, starting and finishing in Bad Al Mutawah to remain close to the city. The stage also marks the furthest west the event has ever been and is a completely new route, with observers claiming it to be one of the best stages the event has included in its long history.

ADNOC Distribution’s Stage 2 on February 28th sees the drivers and riders leaving Al Dhannah City and racing across 240 km of desert to the oasis at Mezair’ah. This is the location of a second three-day bivouac, and the start and finish of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council Stage, which sees the race heading to Hameem and Zamoul Road across classic desert routes that will push the drivers and riders to the limits of their abilities.

The Al Futtaim – Toyota Stage 4, on March 1st, also starts and finishes in Mezair’ah, but this time takes in Madinat Zayed and Hameem. The Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage 5 follows the next day, and is the final leg, taking in Whitesands, Hameem and Al Fathiyah, before returning to the capital of Abu Dhabi for an awards ceremony in the Abu Dhabi Energy Center.

EMSO President Khalid Bin Sulayem, said: “Our 27-year partnership with ADNOC Distribution has been an essential part of the strategic development of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, and has ensured that this rally maintains its place at the heart of the country and the world of cross-country rallying. We are very proud of this year’s route which takes the competitors to a new area in the far west, but most of all, the new routes are hugely challenging, which is what we, our contenders, and desert racing fans all want.”

Evolving the route to bring the prestigious event to both Al Dhannah and Mezair’Ah in the Liwa Region marks exciting progress for the Challenge, as the Government of Abu Dhabi, ADNOC Distribution and the EMSO look to push further development in these areas and bring the racing action closer to the fans, who turned out in their thousands during last year’s Prologue in Al Dhannah City.

Surrounded by natural desert terrain, the people of the UAE have developed a passion for a rally-raid that sees they very best drivers and riders being tested to the limit by the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – and this year’s desert racing promises to provide truly spectacular action with bivouacs open to the public and much greater accessibility to drivers, riders and team members.

As competitors ready themselves for the event, Carlos Sainz and Ricky Brabec currently top the provisional standings in the FIA and FIM categories, respectively. With the event getting underway on February 25th, find out more at

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafra Region; presented by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council; with the support of this year’s Energy Partner ADNOC Distribution; Automotive partner Al-Futtaim Toyota; Abu Dhabi Aviation; Al Ain Water; Governmental support from the Ministry of Defence & UAE Armed Forces , Abu Dhabi Police,  Civil Defence, Abu Dhabi Distribution Co, Al Dhafra Region Municipality, and our media partner Abu Dhabi Sports TV.