Toby Price has taken an early lead in the opening round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge…

With a couple of months break following his debut win in the Dakar Rally, KTM’s Price is continuning to prov himself as the rider to beat in rally with victory on the opening special stage of the ADDC in Abu Dhabi.

Back in action following his broken femur at the end of 2015, Price’s teammate Sam Sunderland holds second with Pablo Quintanilla third.

Hot off the line for the short super stage on Saturday, Price has continued the lead the way and ended the opening special stage of six 35 seconds clear of Sunderland.

141583 Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY Abu Dhabi 2016

“It got a little tricky to see when the sun got above us,” told Price. “I had one get off, nothing too crazy. 

“It's a different challenge to Dakar. I like riding in the sand, across the dunes. It's a lot of fun and I got to the finish line that's the important thing.”

Enjoying his return to racing Sunderland is quickly finding his feet again following a long lay off due to injury…

“The strong wind created a layer of sand making it difficult to read the terrain. I also had problems with my shoulder which I injured in the prologue.”

20858 Pablo Quintanilla Husqvarna FR 450 Abu Dhabi 2016

Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla is another 34 seconds away in third…

“I started a bit towards the back so I was pushing at the beginning. I got into good a rhythm then riding along with Toby. But soft sand makes it a tough ride and you sometimes get stuck a bit.”

Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues and KTM’s Jakub Piatek followed by Spain’s Txomin Arana Cobeaga completing the top six.

Top Emirati rider Mohammed Al Balooshi finished the leg in seventh place, one place ahead of veteran Dubai-based Dave McBride, with Laia Sanz in ninth on her Desert Challenge debut.

The rally continues with a 279 kilometre long stage 2.

Leading positions after Yas Marina Circuit Stage 1 (Provisional)

1. Toby Price (AUS) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1                                             3:39.39                       

2. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Factory  1                                   3:40.14

3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL) Husqvarna 450 Rally Factory 1                            3:40.48

4. Helder Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha WR 450 1                                            3:53.47

5.  Jakub Piatek (POL) KTM 450 Rally Replica 1/4                                      3:54.55

6. Txomin Arana Cobeaga (ESP) Husqvarna 450 Rally Replica 1                  3:55.27

7.  Mohammed Al Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally Replica                           3:56.56

8. David McBride (GBR) KTM 450 Rally Replica 1                                       4:00.42

9. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Factory 1/3                                          4:05.32

10. Pierre Alexandre Renet (FRA) Husqvarna 450 Rally Factory 1                4:09.16