Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2016

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of my year, the ADDC 2016 headed to Liwa between 3rd and 7th April.  For the fourth consecutive year I headed up a team to drive their cameramen deep into the desert to catch some of the best of the action, and this year my team comprised Zach, Manhar and my lovely hubby Neil.



Special Stage One – Yas Marina Circuit


Liason (road) sections – 142kms approx

Stage (offroad) sections – 278kms approx

Time allowed for stage – 8 hours

Fastest Moto – 3 hours 37 minutes 47 seconds (#5)

Fastest Auto – 3 hours 28 minutes 07 seconds (#202)

One of the best things about driving the official tv crew around is that you are in the best spot for photos, however a strong wind whipped up a mild sandstorm and I thought it best to leave my camera in the car! I took these two with my phone tho!



Special Stage Two – Nissan Patrol


Liason (road) sections – 232kms approx

Stage (offroad sections) – 279kms approx

Time allowed for stage – 9 hours

Fastest Moto – 4 hours 02 minutes 40 seconds (#4)

Fastest Auto – 3 hours 54 minutes 15 seconds (#202)

Today it rained – not just a few small spits of rain but a real heavy shower, which turned the beautiful gold dunes south of Madinat Zayed a sombre colour of grey!

Special Stage Three  – Al Ain Water


Liason (road) sections – 91kms approx

Stage (offroad) sections – 280kms approx

Time allowed for stage – 9 hours

Fastest Moto – 3 hours 48 minutes 50 seconds (#11)

Fastest Auto – 3 hours  38 minutes 05 seconds (#202)

The day with the best scenery as the rally takes the cars snaking through the sublime Liwa crescent.  The first 20 or so kms were on a new route which afforded some beautiful lines and chances for good video and stills photography!

This was the day when we realised that the cars were slowing down when they saw the TV camera – we would only be stationed at a particular point if there was likely to be some action!  So for a few cars we were a little bit sneaky…. there were a series of four bumps and Konrad and his camera stationed himself at the last one…. so we had a flight or two over the first bump, as you can see by these pictures!

Special Stage Four – ADNOC


Liason (road) sections – 147kms approx

Stage (offroad) sections – 258kms approx

Time allowed for stage – 9 hours

Fastest Moto – 3 hours 42 minutes 39 seconds (#8)

Fastest Auto – 3 hours  33 minutes 05 seconds (#205)

Our spot was a long haul from the bivouac – in at PC2 Refuel on the Arada Road, then offroad along a sandtrack for 5kms or so.  My hubby Neil wasn’t far away, from PC2 he took his drone-operating crew around 3kms into the desert where they hovered over “Pete’s Bowl” to catch the action.

Special Stage Five – Abu Dhabi Aviation




Liason (road) sections – 137kms approx

Stage (offroad) sections – 234kms approx

Time allowed for stage – 6 hours

Fastest Moto – 2 hours 48 minutes 17 seconds (#5)

Fastest Auto – 2 hours  38 minutes 17 seconds (#202)

From our camera spot there were only 80 relatively easy kms to the end of the stage, and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2016.  How quick the week went!

Speaking of quick- the fastest car drove the 1329kms of the stage in only 17 hours and 14 minutes, over one hour faster than the quickest motorbike at 18 hours and 18 minutes – which was something of a surprise!

Moto results here.  Well done to Toby Price, Rafal Sonik, Laia Sanz, Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo and Rosa Romero Font!

Auto results here.  Well done to Nasser Al Attiya for the most amazing drive!

Full results can be found on this page.

So there you have it – five days in the desert with some of the top cross-country drivers and bikers in the world. Over 150 competitors and a small army of volunteers to look after them and indeed, make the event happen.

This will be the last ADDC I will attend as a volunteer – my financial circumstances have changed (more about that later) and I need to start earning some cash.   So if any photographer would like to hire me to drive them around, at this event or any other Liwa/AD/UAE event, please get in touch!

You can see the footage our cameramen and drone operators shot, by clicking on the facebook page of the ADDC.

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