Dubai: UAE companies are coming together to support the Gulf News Fun Drive which will be held on February 10 and 11 in the open desert of Tilal Swaihan in Al Ain.
The 42nd Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive — the Tilal Swaihan Experience, is powered by Great Wall Motor (GWM) TANK, Al Naboodah.
This year as well, the Gulf News Fun Drive will be held in Tilal Swaihan and will be in a loop format. The start and end of the Fun Drive will be in the same location.
Tilal Swaihan is approximately 70 kms from Al Ain. The area is a tourist destination and recreational campsite that blends local resources and UAE’s rich culture with world-class amenities and attractions.
GWM, an exclusive partner of Al Naboodah Group since 2003, is the automotive sponsor of the 42nd Gulf News Fun Drive.
Officially launched in the UAE in 2023, GWM TANK is the latest addition to the growing portfolio of Swaidan Trading, part of Al Naboodah Group and will be on display at the Gulf News Fun Drive.
Vadarevu Shiva Kumar, GWM Divisional Head Swaidan Trading Co. LLC said: “We are excited to be sponsoring the Gulf News Fun Drive, a prominent event with a history spanning over 30 years. This revered off-road event holds a special place in the hearts of the region’s off-road community.”
He said: “Following the recent launch of our GWM TANK brand in the UAE in 2023 — distinguished for its outstanding off-road performance — it was only fitting for us to align with the Gulf News Fun Drive.”
Kumar said: “The Fun Drive is an exhilarating event that unites like-minded off-road enthusiasts. For GWM TANK, our objective is to highlight the remarkable capabilities of the TANK SUV in this dynamic setting.”
“People can anticipate witnessing marshals operating various vehicles, including the GWM Tank 300 and Tank 500, both well-suited for an off-road driving experience and at the same time fully equipped to handle any off-road challenge. These vehicles cater to both the luxury and off-road segments, appealing to younger generations as well as individuals with large families,” he added.
Kumar said the event will provide a unique opportunity for participants to interact with their vehicles. “They can explore the cars and inquire about prices, features, specifications, and more at the venue. Additionally, participants have the option to register for a test drive and subsequently visit one of our showrooms strategically located across the UAE to experience the vehicles first-hand.”
He added: “The desert drive holds a profound significance for both locals and expatriates as it serves as a poignant reminder of their roots and the origins of the city of Dubai. The Arabian touch is accentuated during the desert drive, as the UAE boasts a growing community of off-road enthusiasts. The Gulf News Fun Drive, an event that brings people from different nationalities together to explore the thrill of desert driving, truly captures the essence of this Arabian adventure.”
“Moreover, our pride in being connected to the Al Naboodah brand, with its rich history of over 60 years in the region, further strengthens our ties to the local communities.”
Kumar said: “The participation of GWM in the Gulf News Fun Drive aligns perfectly with our brand’s goals, as we aim to showcase why GWM TANK stands out as the premiere choice for off-road driving experiences. The exceptional performance and capability of our vehicles to navigate off-road terrain seamlessly make them the ideal companions for desert adventures. Through our involvement in the Fun Drive, we not only aim to demonstrate the excellence of GWM TANK but also celebrate the shared passion for the desert and off-road driving with our communities.”
Football engagement, special vouchers discounts at Fun Drive
Castrol Lubricants which is celebrating 125 years of its global presence, launching its new corporate identity as well this year, will be at the Gulf News Fun Drive as a support sponsor.
Jayakumar Natarajan, Marketing Director of Castrol Lubricants MEKSA, said: “We always support events that involve motor sports. It is important for us to showcase motor sports in the region and the Gulf News Fun Drive is just the right place to do it. It is an event that provides great exposure to off-roaders.”
Natarajan said: “This year at the Fun Drive, we will have activations engaging customers. Castrol sponsors the English Premiere League and we will take the Fun Drive as an opportunity to do some football engagement. Plus we will have a spin wheel to give away vouchers and special gifts to participants.
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Dobinsons Spring and Suspension that is a support sponsor for the Gulf News Fun Drive will be having exclusive promotion of its products — mainly off-road accessories -on the breakfast morning (January 10, Saturday).
Saravanan M, Regional Head for the company’s MENA region said the company will also have a checkpoint with ice-cream refreshment distribution.
“At the camp we will have a display of Dobinsons’ products and will also have ice-cream distribution here.”
He said: “We have been participating at the Gulf News Fun Drive for five years now. It is always exciting to see the participants on site at the camp. While some are our customers others are our potential new customers. This is why we like to participate at such a large scale event.”
Xbox is also coming as a support sponsor for the 42nd edition of the Gulf News Fun Drive. Gene Bequizo, Assistant Marketing Manager for Xbox said: “This is the second time we are joining the Fun Drive. We will be promoting Xbox as a gaming concept. We will be providing a gaming experience for participants — young and old. There will be a number of racing games and we hope to attract once again the off-road enthusiasts to our gaming experience. They enjoyed the experience last year and we hope to give them a similar exciting gaming experience this year as well.”
Corporate gifting supplier
Steigens, a corporate gifting supplier in the UAE is coming on-board as a support sponsor for the first time.
Manu Krishnan, Sales Manager, Brands and Events for Steigens said: “We are happy to be part of the Gulf News Fun Drive as it is such a big event with a great history. The kind of participation we see is truly niche and those who are interested in desert off-roading.”
“We will be exhibiting our products — Chase Plus, a corporate fashion brand and Aggert — a collection of products including travel adaptors, cables among others.” He said: “Special discounts on products will be available for participants on site.”