Yas Marina Circuit prepares for launch of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

ABU DHABI, The “South Grand Stand” support pits at Yas Marina Circuit were alive with activity today, as competitors and mechanics fine-tuned their preparations for the start of the “Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge-Powered by Nissan” tomorrow.

A collection of T1 prototypes, modified production cars and buggies, as well as factory-built superbikes and quads, gathered in the UAE capital, with work continuing till the early hours to get them ready for action.

To be flagged off by Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the General Authority for Sport, the “Super Special Spectator Stage” will start tomorrow at 15.30 on the Grand Prix circuit, which has made Abu Dhabi a major international Formula One venue over the last nine years.

On Sunday morning, the rally will begin with 112 competitors from 28 countries, who will tackle the 276 kilometre, km, Yas Marina Circuit stage, with the first of five competitive sections taking place in the Al Dhafra Region.

The next four days will see the Nissan (287.92 km), Ain Water (281.38 km), ADNOC (244.49 km) and Abu Dhabi Aviation (218.57 km) stages, with the remaining competitors returning to the Yas Marina Circuit at 16.30pm on Thursday.

“This is a fantastic event, and everyone is eager to get started,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile Touring Club of the UAE and the Emirates Motorsport Federation, the rally’s organisers. “The drivers and riders are now like footballers getting ready for a game. They have prepared for days, and the adrenalin is building up, and you can sense that as we are getting ready for the start,” he added.

The event, which will be held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region, is supported by the Al Dafrah Region Municipality, the Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, the Abu Dhabi Police, Nissan Middle East, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Al Ain Water, the National Ambulance Service, Tadweer, Yas Marina Circuit and the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.

The Nissan Patrol is the official car of the event, and a fleet of them was used by the event’s route planning team over the last two months to establish its competitive trail, which crosses some of the most demanding desert terrains on earth.

The event is the third round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies, and the opening round of the FIM World Cup for bikes and quads.

Launched in 1991 by Ben Sulayem, a record-breaking rally driver who is now the FIA Vice President for Sport, the event is the first world motorsport championship competition in the Middle East.

Source: Emirates News Agency