France’s Stéphane Peterhansel wrapped up a record-breaking seventh win, with Marc Coma, the reigning world champion, rubberstamping his two-wheeled superiority by clinching a third consecutive bikes category title, as the 2011 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Among the quads, Nicholas Black completed an unlikely victory in his first ever Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, while the trucks category was won by Eduard Nikolaev in his KAMAZ-Master truck.
After engaging in a titanic tussle for the lead with Russia’s Leonid Novitskiy, the current world champion and the Frenchman’s BMW X3 driving Team X-Raid colleague, Peterhansel piloted his Mini All4 Racing car home in an overall time of 20hours 33minutes 58seconds. Close behind the X-Raid pair was experienced Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser in his Schlesser Original buggy.
Having previously won the event twice in the bikes category, Peterhansel revealed his joy at finishing the 1,570-kilometre event and clinching a fourth consecutive Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge win - his fifth cars category title in total.
There was also good news for the UAE, as Emirati driver Yahya Bil Helei and co-driver Khalid Al Kendi took fourth place in the final Abu Dhabi stage in their Isuzu pick-up truck – a result which elevated the pair to fourth overall. Bil Helei, a Desert Challenge veteran, finished the rally in 26h 7m 13s.
In the bikes, Coma led for the majority of the off-road rally. The Spanish KTM Factory Team rider and reigning Dakar Rally champion steered his powerful KTM 450 across the finish line to complete a resounding fifth Abu Dhabi victory in an overall time of 18hours 28minutes.