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Dubai: Toyota’s 33-year association with the Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive has helped both brands and the event become fabrics of the UAE’s society, according to Saud Abbasi, the managing director of Al Futtaim Toyota.

“Both brands are fabrics of the nation and this event is such a core part of the lifestyle here, we are incredibly proud to be involved in such a programme from the very beginning,” Abbasi told Gulf News ahead of this year’s event in Liwa at the weekend, from January 11-12.

“For us this is something that will always remain part of our marketing plan. Every year when we sit down and make our plan it is a given that we are going to be part of the GN Fun Drive.

Goodies bags being packed for Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive, The Liwa Experience. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

“We have one of the widest range of products in the market, therefore we actually appeal to a very broad section of the UAE. Gulf News is similar in that their readership is extremely wide and diverse, so there’s an overlap in terms of customers who engage in our brands and this comes through at the GN Fun Drive.”

Abbasi added that this connection and long association would enable the event to keep growing from strength-to-strength.

“There’s always something new, even for someone like me, who is now in his third year of taking part. The route is different and there are new and exciting challenges, and we expect this growth to continue.

“This year we have one of the most extensive activations ever. There’s a lot of families every year and we have something for everyone.

“I started learning to off-road especially for this event in 2017 and took my family and kids along, and to this day they still talk about their experiences. “Not only is it a memorable drive but there’s also the small stuff when you stop and talk to other families, and then the overnight camp, which by far outshines anything we have ever done as a family while in the UAE.”

The Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive is supported by Al Futtaim Motors — Toyota who are the main sponsor. Checkpoint sponsors include Al Jazira Poultry Farm LLC, FASTFIT, G-Shock, Orient Tours, Orient Travel, Toyota and Western Digital. Support sponsors include Byrne, Emirates Water, Flow Composite Manufacturing FZC, Fly Audio & Almani by Ahaat, JANSPORT, TORC The Offroad Company, US Polo Association. Catering is by JA Resorts & Hotels and Mafraq Hotel. Food Packs are by Mister Baker.

Fun Drive numbers are sponsored by Amity University Dubai, Communication Sponsor is SanDisk and the official Tyre Sponsor is BF Goodrich. Recovery is by IATC. The Fun Drive is being held with the support of Al Gharbia Sports Club.