kevin benavides hrc honda rally dakar abu dhabi 1 1200

Photo Credit: HondaProRacing

HRC Honda’s makes his first return to competitive action having missed Janaury’s Dakar Rally due to injury.

A crash during final preparations for Dakar 2017, left the Argentinian on the side lines nursing a broken right hand.

It was a tough blow for the Honda rider who as the top performing rookie of Dakar 2016 was hoping for greater things in Januarys race.

Now with the all-clear to race again, Benavides will make his first competitive outing of 2017 at the opening round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Abu Dhabi. He joins Monster Energy Honda teammates Paulo Goncalves and Ricky Brabec — winner of the Mexican Sonora Rally.

"For me this is the first race of the year and it’s the first one since I had the accident just before the Dakar,” told Benavides. “Three months have passed now since the crash. 

“I’ve worked really hard to come back and I’m very happy to be in Abu Dhabi for the first time – it’s a beautiful place. I can’t wait to be able to get back on the bike and feel those sensations again. I’m going to tackle this race without pressure, try and enjoy it and get some kilometres under my belt."


paulo goncalves hrc honda rally dakar abu dhabi 1 650

Photo Credit: HondaProRacing

Goncalves — winner of the race in 2014 — and Benavides are scheduled to take part in every round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with the first stop at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which gets underway from the Yas Marina on 31st March with the technical and administrative shake-down.

Competitors can look forward to over 2000 kilometres of course with 1300 km of special stage against the clock. 

The curtain-raising Super Special will get the show up and running on Saturday 1st April and will decide the starting order for the first full-stage in the Liwa Desert. 

The event wraps up on 6th April at the Yas Marina Circuit.


Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Race Schedule

abu dhabi desert challenge schedule