UAE Desert Challenge ready for competition

UAE Sets Stage For World Cup Super Show Sulayem says UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge is on course for greater things thanks to official backing, world-class facilities Dubai, UAE, 8 September 2004: The same combination of ...

UAE Sets Stage For World Cup Super Show
Sulayem says UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge is on course for greater things thanks to official backing, world-class facilities

Dubai, UAE, 8 September 2004: The same combination of world-class facilities and government backing which won the UAE a place in World Cup rallying is vital to the country's growth as a world-class venue for motor sport.

As year-round preparations for next month's the UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge entered the final phase, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, chairman of the organising committee, made it clear that official support has been the key to the event's success.

"While we are indebted to our sponsors for their consistent support, the Desert Challenge would not be where it is today if we had not had such tremendous backing and encouragement from the government," said Sulayem today.

"The official support we receive makes us the envy of organisations in other countries, and it's as important to the future development of the Desert Challenge, and motor sport as a whole in the UAE, as the world-class facilities we have here to stage top events."

Sulayem was talking during a visit to Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina and Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) whose superb facilities provide an ideal base for the UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge.

The 14-times Middle East rally champion discussed final preparations for the event with Saeed Hareb, managing director of DIMC, who said: "While this venue is famous for staging world championship events in powerboat racing, sailing and other water sports, the wide range of facilities here mean this is a tremendously versatile sporting location."

Taking place from October 11 -- 15, the 2004 UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge will be held under the patronage of H.H.Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence of the UAE.

Emphasising the big international pulling power of the event, 95 drivers and riders from 28 countries have already confirmed their place in the starting line-up, and that number is expected to soar past the 120 mark by the time the Prologue -- the traditional curtain-raiser - gets under way at Jebel Ali Racecourse at 4pm on October 10.

While most of the biggest names in off-road rallying will join that of former world rally champion Colin McRae on the final entry list, many of the lesser known World Cup challengers are also heading for the UAE from around the world.

They include Russian Sergey Shmakov in a Honda Buggy, Vural Ak in a Mitsubishi Pajero entered by Turkey's Intercity Rally Raid Team, and former Middle East Group N champion Ron Cremen from Australia, as well as riders Miran Stanovnik from Slovenia, Zimbabwe's Martin Camp and Austrian Klaus Schwingenshhloegl, to name a few.

The 2004 UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge is co-sponsored by the Government of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Emarat, ADNOC, Messina Shipping, Oasis Water, Inmarsat, providers of satellite communications, Nissan, official vehicle supplier to the organisers, Konica copiers, website designers ANLONITS, Dubai International Marine Club and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina.

The official start at the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi at 9.30am on October 10 will be followed by four competitive stages, each of around 360ms and leading to night halts at the bivouac beside the notorious Moreeb Hill. The finish is at Dubai International Marine Club at 4.30pm on October 15.

-uaemdc-

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About this article
Series Cross-Country Rally
Drivers Colin McRae , Miran Stanovnik