Abu Dhabi: One of the big success stories of international rallying launches its 29th chapter later this month when the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan takes place under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region.
Mohammad Bin Sulayem, who jotted down his original plan for the event on a scrap of paper back in 1991, was already thinking in World Cup terms at the time, although he could not have seen how the his original idea would develop over three decades.
“So much has changed in motorsport worldwide since then, and I had no idea at the beginning that the Desert Challenge would still be going strong today,” said Bin Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, and FIA Vice President for Sport.
“Without the support of the UAE authorities this would never have been possible, and we’re especially grateful to Shaikh Hamdan for his encouragement and assistance, and for the overall backing we receive from the UAE Armed Forces and the Abu Dhabi government.”
Taking place from March 30 to April 4, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan forms the second round of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies and the opening round of this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
The event is supported by Al Dafrah Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, Abu Dhabi Police, Nissan Middle East, Yas Marina Circuit, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Al Ain Water, Tadweer, Yas Island and the Qasr Al Sarab Resort.