Stage five of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was the shortest of the event at 216.92 kilometres but offered little in the way of an easy ride to the finish. With tricky terrain that called for patience and precise navigation early on, all three of the team’s riders enjoyed the challenge before they raced across the finish line in Al Fathiyeh.
Bringing to an end a highly rewarding season of racing, Adrien Van Beveren secured second overall at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Winning three of five stages, the Frenchman underlined his impressive form and after almost 18 hours of racing, finished the rally just over four and a half minutes behind the winner, Matthias Walkner. With Adrien claiming an impressive result at the final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship he advanced to second in the final series standings.
The ever-positive Ross Branch placed a strong third overall on the fifth and final stage. Opening the rally with a win on stage one showed his impressive speed and he remained in contention for the win until a crash and broken navigational tower during the event’s marathon stage ruled him out of the running. Ultimately, Ross enjoyed a positive debut season in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, which was undoubtedly headlined by his overall win at Rally Kazakhstan.
The third and final Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team rider completing the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was Andrew Short. Unfortunate to miss stage four due to a technical issue while lying fourth in the overall provisional classification, the American has pieced together a solid season and just like his teammates Adrian and Ross, is now fully focussed on the fast-approaching Dakar Rally.