New national rally set to boost UAE motor sport

Motor sport in the UAE will be given a fresh boost later this year with the launch of a new national rally championship designed to capitalise on the country’s spectacular natural assets for the staging of cross country events.

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Published: Tue 30 Jul 2013, 12:21 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:00 AM

The new UAE Desert Championship is open to cars, bikes, quads and buggies. — Supplied photo

The UAE Desert Championship is being introduced to safeguard the future of rallying on a national basis, and in doing so will take the country’s original motor sport discipline to a new level. It meets a growing demand from the country’s motor sport fraternity for a new series of highly competitive events run in a natural environment, with an emphasis on safety.

The inaugural 2013-14 series will consist of four Baja-style events taking place in October, November, January and February, with categories for cross country cars, cross country buggies, motor cycles and quads.

The new championship is being organised by the Emirates Motor Sport Federation with the full support of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the national motor sport authority.

It signifies the beginning of a new sporting partnership between the two organisations, just three months after the appointment of ATCUAE President Dr Mohammed bin Sulayem as the EMSF President in a move initiated by Shaikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank Shaikh Marwan Rashed Al Mualla for his hard work and commitment during his tenure as the EMSF President,” said Sulayem, announcing the UAE Desert Championship.

“This new championship will be bigger and better than any previous national rally series, and I’m sure many UAE competitors will be as excited by it as we are.”

The UAE Desert Championship will also form a natural link into the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which marks its 24th edition next April as a round of both the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies, and the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship for motor bikes and quads.

New EMSF General Secretary Atiq Hassan Mubarak said: “We know that there are a good number of competitors who will respond immediately. More importantly, there are more who will be prepared to invest in competition vehicles once the new series proves to be well conducted and sustainable.”

“It’s difficult to estimate the number of competitors for the first season, but we should quickly get to the stage where we’re attracting around 25 cars, 80 bikes and quads and at least 50 buggies.

“It will take time to establish the buggies. There have been few competitive events for these up until now. But there are over 5,000 buggies in the UAE alone, and a lot of buggy owners will be excited by the chance to compete in professionally organised motor sport events which make safety a priority.”

The UAE Desert Championship will incorporate three kind of event formats, starting with short track rallies with a marked route, run over around six laps of approx 20kms each, ideally suited to the deserts of Dubai and the Northern Emirates.


Round 1: October 11

Round 2: November 15

Round 3: January 31

Round 4: February 14-15.

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