World Rally-Raid Championship

2024 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Mansour Al-Helei beats Seaidan in SSV shootout

2 Mins read
Credit: Horacio Cabilla/ASO

Mansour Al-Helei might not be competing for the World Rally-Raid Championship, but he was more than happy to put on a show for his fellow Emiratis on his home soil. Al-Helei and Yasir Seaidan, from neighbouring Saudi Arabia, squared off for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge SSV victory, with Al-Helei narrowly coming out on top.

The margin between the two was as close as eighteen seconds at one point, when Seaidan won Stage #3 to take the overall lead from Al-Helei. Entering the final day, Al-Helei was clinging onto a 1:22 edge over Seaidan, a margin that could have been even closer had the latter not received seventy seconds in time penalties. Despite Seaidan’s efforts, he was unable to catch Al-Helei in Stage #5 as the gap nearly doubled. The 2:42 separating them was the closest final margin of victory among all six categories.

While coming up short, Seaidan being the top finisher among W2RC-eligible drivers gives him more of an advantage in the standings. He had also left the season-opening Dakar Rally as the best finishing championship competitor despite finishing third overall, and repeating this feat puts him nearly sixty points ahead of Sebastián Guayasamín, who joined him and Al-Helei on the outright podium. Rebecca Busi, who missed the 2023 ADDC due to logistical issues, notched her first career W2RC podium finish.

Abu Dhabi was the first race for Seaidan with Michaël Metge as navigator. He worked with his younger brother Adrien Metge at Dakar while Michaël finished runner-up there as the co-driver for Jérôme de Sadeleer, meaning the elder Metge is riding a two-race SSV runner-up streak.

Father and son duo Michele and Pietro Cinotto respectively finished fifth and ninth, the latter entering his first championship race outside of Dakar. Unlike his son, Michele is registered for points.

João Ferreira won the opening stage, but was disqualified a day later when he crashed on a dune and summoned his team to help diagnose the problem. Crews are forbidden from coming within a kilometre of their vehicle while it is on the Selective Section, resulting in him being one of two drivers getting the boot from the final order alongside Ultimate competitor Juan Cruz Yacopini for the same reason.

SSV overall results

1411Mansour Al-Helei*Khalid Al-KendiMansour Al-Helei17:42:37Leader
2400Yasir SeaidanMichaël MetgeMMP Compétition17:45:19+ 2:42
3403Sebastián GuayasamínFernando Matias AcostaFN Speed Team18:18:49+ 36:12
4406Rebecca BusiSergio LafuenteOnlyFans Racing19:11:52+ 1:29:15
5407Michele CinottoMaurizio DominellaXtremeplus20:40:12+ 2:57:35
6413Justas Grendelis*Simonas RamanauskasAlbe Alliance Racing21:29:06+ 3:47:29
7408Claude FournierSerge GounonMMP Compétition22:41:19+ 4:58:42
8410Piotr Beaupre*Jarosław KazberukPiotr Beaupre24:54:15+ 7:11:38
9414Pietro Cinotto*Szymon GospodarczykXtremeplus33:57:32+ 16:14:55
10409Robert Szustkowski*Albert GryszcukRobert Szustkowski39:02:10+ 21:19:33
11405Ricardo RamiloFausto MotaScuderia Ramilo Rodamoto40:50:30+ 23:07:53
12404Enrico GaspariAlberto MarconTH-Trucks Team42:20:03+ 24:37:26
13412Atif Alzarouni*Mohammed Hasan InnabAtif Alzarouni57:05:02+ 39:22:25
DSQ402João FerreiraFilipe PalmeiroCan-Am Factory TeamDSQN/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

SSV stage winners

PrologueMansour Al-Helei*3:37.5
Stage #1Mansour Al-Helei*3:52:56
Stage #2Yasir Seaidan3:33:19
Stage #3Yasir Seaidan3:58:17
Stage #4Mansour Al-Helei*3:32:07
Stage #5Mansour Al-Helei*2:39:25

W2RC SSV standings

For readability, competitors registered for the championship who have not earned points are excluded.

Drivers’ standings

1Yasir Seaidan146Leader
2Sebastián Guayasamín87– 59
3Sara Price74– 72
4João Ferreira73– 73
5Cristiano de Sousa Batista52– 94
T-6Rebecca Busi45– 101
T-6Enrico Gaspari45– 101
8Ricardo Ramilo38– 108
9Michele Cinotto22– 124
10Claude Fournier19– 127
11Eduard Pons16– 130
12André Thewessen13– 133

Co-drivers’ standings

1Adrien Metge91Leader
2Fernando Matias Acosta87– 4
3Jeremy Gray74– 17
4Filipe Palmeiro73– 18
5Fausto Mota69– 22
6Michaël Metge55– 36
7Sergio Lafuente45– 46
8Aku Facundo Jaton31– 60
9Maurizio Dominella22– 69
10Marc Solà Terradellas21– 70
11Serge Gounon19– 72
12Jaume Betriu16– 75
13Alberto Marcon14– 77
14Dmytro Tsyro13– 78
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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