UAE Desert Challenge entries include local drivers

Liberty team trio line up alongside the big names of cross country rallying as six of last year's top ten join race to clinch bikes title Dubai, UAE, 13 September 2004: The UAE's three-car Liberty Team will share a world stage with the...

Liberty team trio line up alongside the big names of cross country rallying as six of last year's top ten join race to clinch bikes title

Dubai, UAE, 13 September 2004: The UAE's three-car Liberty Team will share a world stage with the biggest names in cross country rallying during next month's UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge, with French star Stephane Peterhansel, winner of the event for the last two years, now confirmed in a powerful line-up.

Driving a trio of new Chrysler Pick-ups, Obaid Bin Hathboor and Yahya Al Helei - placed seventh and tenth last year - and team-mate and Ahmad Bin Suqat are among an impressive list of 113 drivers and riders from around the world heading for the penultimate round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies from October 11-15.

As expected, Mitsubishi Motor Sports have confirmed that Peterhansel and Japanese star Hiroshi Masuoka will drive identical Montero Evolution prototypes in the UAE. In addition to chasing a hat-trick of victories, Peterhansel also has a chance of claiming the World Cup drivers' title.

The Nissan Dessoude team, meanwhile, sees former world Group N rally champion Gregoire De Mevius of Belgium driving a Nissan Pick-up and French lady driver Isabelle Patissier at the wheel of a Nissan Pathfinder.

Frenchman Dominique Housieux, winner of last month's World Cup event in Turkey, drives one of four Ralliart Mitsubishi Pajero V60s along with Serge Henninot also of France, Spain's Jose Luis Monterde of Spain and Germany's Ellen Lohr.

"We still have some big names to come, but we've already got a very powerful line-up and all the makings of a tremendously competitive event," said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, chairman of the organising committee.

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.

The battle for supremacy will be as tough on two wheels as on four, with six of last year's top ten finishers in the bikes category among those hoping be the rider who ends a run of three consecutive wins in the UAE by Frenchman Cyril Despres.

They include Poland's Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor, who finished third and fourth 12 months ago, as well as Norway's Pal Anders Ullevalster, Italian Oscar Polli, Britain's Sean Linton, and Zimbabwe's Joe De Bruyn on a Honda, the only one of the six not riding a KTM.

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

Spectators will have a ringside view of the mighty World Cup prototypes, modified 4WD vehicles, trucks and motor bikes during an all-action Prologue at the Jebel Ali Racecourse in Dubai at 4pm on October 10. From the official start at the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi the following morning, the events heads south for the first of four competitive stages, each of around 340ms, culminating in night halts at the bivouac. The next three days brings action in the Rub Al Khali or Empty Quarter, before the final leg on October 15 takes the survivors north to the finish at Dubai International Marine Club.

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About this article
Series Cross-Country Rally
Drivers Ellen Lohr , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Jose Luis Monterde , Serge Henninot , Isabelle Patissier , Jacek Czachor