ADDC 2017: Abu Issa secures a podium


At the end of six days of sand and dunes, Mohamed Abu Issa (QAT) and Xavier Panseri (FRA) secured the very fine third place, with their MINI ALL4 Racing.

After the Dakar Rally in January and the Dubai International Baja it was the third top-10 result secured by the driver from Qatar this year. For the German pairing Stephan Schott / Andreas Schulz it was a really eventful rally. They rolled in stage three but the X-raid mechanics got the MINI ALL4 Racing back into racing shape. Due to the time penalty they were out of the contention for the top-10 positions, but they could keep on gathering experience in the sand. At the end of the day, Schott and Schulz finished on position 17.

Abu Issa made it to the top-10 in every stage of the event and thanks to this consistency he held fourth position in the overall standings for a long time. Other than his rivals he didn’t make any serious mistakes and consequently was rewarded with third position. The driver from Qatar switched from the quad to cars only last year and covered a lot of kilometres in the sand and dunes in the Dubai Baja and the ADDC. ”We started from fourth position into the really fast final stage,” said Abu Issa. „At kilometre 70 we passed Nasser who had had a bad accident. But fortunately they both survived the crash unharmed. This meant that we finished third in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and that’s a result I’m really happy with. The five days represented a massive challenge. 90 percent sand means that you get stuck and lose a lot of time as soon as your focus level drops for a moment. This rally taught me that being only fast isn’t important. You also have to be consistent. We had no technical problems whatsoever and the MINI is well-known for being extremely reliable anyway.”

Schott also was in a promising position in the early stages of the event and secured top-10 results. In stage three, however, he went too fast over a dune and rolled the car. But the MINI once again demonstrated its durability and on the following day it was ready to race again. The German was ‘rewarded’ with a massive time penalty for not having finished the stage and so, he had to settle for finishing 17th. “The final day proved to be another difficult one,” admitted Schott. “We got stuck in a hole and then we were trapped by other cars at the front and the rear. So we had to jointly do the digging. The rally wasn’t easy – just as we had expected in the run-up. After my accident I preferred to choose for a more conservative approach. Therefore, I’m not too unhappy with our result.”

The next FIA Cross Country World Cup round, the Qatar Cross Country Rally, will be held from 17th to 22nd April, 2017.

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge