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Feb 13, 2014 - 07:25 AM
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UAE Desert Championship Title Rivals Eye Dual Targets
Posted by: newsla on Feb 13, 2014 - 07:22 AM
UAE Desert Championship Title Rivals Eye Dual Targets

The UAE Desert Championship takes on extra significance tomorrow for drivers and riders fighting for national titles and already eyeing other targets on the world stage in less than two months time.


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After a record 96 cars, buggies, bikes and quads contested last month’s third round, another powerful line-up of competitors and rally machinery will assemble for round four of the inaugural rally series in the desert south of Dubai tomorrow (Friday) morning.

All the action in the short track rally will unfold during a frenetic two-hour period, and for many the event doubles up as a perfect warm-up in fiercely competitive conditions for the 24th edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, taking place from April 3-10.

Four-point cars division leader Ahmad Al Maqoodi also comfortably tops the buggies standings in his Polaris RZR XP, while Sean Gaugain leads the race for the bikes title and Mohammed Shamsi has control of the quads category.

A total of 12 national titles are still up grabs in the inaugural Desert Championship, which provides a natural link to the Desert challenge, the UAE’s round of both the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars, and the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship for bikes.

“The new championship is accessible and attractive to a lot more people than usual because of the format which is designed for cars, buggies, bikes and quads” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the national motor sport authority.

“Competitors love these desert rallies, especially the riders. For them it’s a different type of racing to moto cross, with a lot more strategy involved and more endurance training needed. Bike preparation is very important. It’s not just a matter of who has the quickest machine.

“Overall, the Desert Championship events are very good preparation for the Desert Challenge. The rallies are very useful for testing and development of cars and bikes, and the riders in particular use them for fitness training.”

Organised by the Emirates Motor Sport Federation, with TAG Heuer Middle East as the official timekeeper and founding partner, the UAE Desert Championship is run with the support of the ATCUAE.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from competitors about the championship format, and the way it helps them prepare for the Desert Challenge,” said Sulayem, the FIA Vice President. “There are a lot of positives to take from this first season, but we’ll also be looking to learn from our experiences to make it a bigger and better championship next season.”

With practice prohibited, the route for the final round, running in the Al Yufrah 2 desert area south of Dubai, will be revealed to competitors tomorrow (Friday) morning before the cars, buggies, bikes and quads go into action between 9am-11am.

2013-14 UAE Desert Championship – standings after three rounds
Cars, overall

1. Ahmad Al Maqoodi, Polaris RZR XP 62pts
2. Mansoor Al Helei, Nissan Patrol 58pts
3. Ahmed Al Fahim, Polaris RZR 45pts
4. Almhan Ibrahim, Nissan Patrol 32pts
5. David Mabbs, FJ Cruiser 25pts
= Khalid Al Jafla, Polaris 2012 XP 25pts


1. Ahmad Al Maqoodi, Polaris RZR XP 69pts
2. Ahmed Al Fahim, Polaris RZR 45pts
3. Khalid Al Jafla, Polaris 2012 XP 25pts
4. Michel Fadel, Polaris XP900 15pts

Motorbikes, overall

1. Sean Gaugain, Kawasaki KXF450 69pts
2. Mark Grams, Honda CR250R 60pts
3. Rashed Abdullah, Honda CRF450 44pts
4. Ross Runnalls, Kawasaki KX450F 41pts
= Sam Sunderland, Honda CRF 450 41pts
6. Cameron Waugh, KTM SX250 37pts


1. Mohammed Shamsi, Kawasaki 450 72pts
2. Colin Mercer, Honda TRX700 54pts
3. Humaid Al Mashghouni, Yamaha Raptor 51pts
4. Sebastian Husseini, Honda TRX700xx 47pts
5. Obaid Al Kitbe, Honda TRX450 36pts
6. Patrick Gersch, Yamaha Raptor 33pts

Caption: Mohammed Ben Sulayem – says the UAE Desert Championship events are very good preparation for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

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