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DUBAI RALLY MAKES DESERT DETOUR TO PROTECT LONG PLAYING RECORD

26 November, 2013

Sulayem makes route changes to guard against weather threat as event heads for 35th edition

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi – ” “Mother Nature can play a big part in this rally.”

Captions:

(Left side) Flashback to last year’s Dubai International Rally which was hit by heavy rain.   (Right side) Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi – ” “Mother Nature can play a big part in this rally.”

 

Dubai, 26 November, 2013: The UAE’s longest running sports event is expected to run without interruption this weekend after the organisers of the Dubai International Rally took steps to combat any potential new weather threat.

After last week’s heavy rain, parts of the desert route being used for the final round of the 2013 FIA Middle East Rally Championship were under water or had been washed away.

Graders have since swept a clean path through the special stages while the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the national motor sport authority, has taken extra precautions to guard against the possibility of more rain at the weekend.

“The weather forecast is dry for the next few days, but we aren’t taking any chances so we made some dramatic changes to the route to avoid low lying areas which could flood if there was more rain,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“We had a similar situation last year, and heavy rain during the first leg left a lot of surface water in places. That can lead to problems, so we’ve taken action to guard against the threat.”

The move by the ATCUAE was quickly welcomed by Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, who spearheads a five-car challenge in the 35th Dubai International Rally by Abu Dhabi Racing.

“We came across quite a lot of water in the desert when we were testing last weekend and had to change our plans to avoid some areas,” said Al Qassimi, who will be chasing a third Dubai International Rally victory alongside co-driver Scott Martin in his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3.

“Mother Nature can play a big part in this rally, so it’s good to know that the ATCUAE have taken precautions.

“If there is some rain, it can firm up the soft sand and make things a bit easier in places. But if we get big pools of water forming, that’s something different so it was a wise step by the organisers to take the route away from some of the low lying areas, just in case.”

The 35th Dubai International Rally is endorsed by the office of H.H.Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

For a fourth year, the event is based at Dubai Men’s College, in the Higher Colleges of Technology campus at Academic City, Dubai, which hosts the Rally HQ and service park.

The rally officially gets under way with a ceremonial start at Dubai World Trade Centre at 6.15pm on Thursday before the main rally action unfolds along the desert trails over the next two days.

The first leg on Friday morning takes the competitors through Al Dhaid to the first loop of three special stages at Zubeidah, Al Falaj near Khadra village, and Showka, prior to a service regrouping. The same stages are repeated in the afternoon.

The following day’s second leg features two loops of three stages at Al Dhaid (Police College), Khadra and Mileiha are all in the Al Dhaid/Mileiha area and are easily located from the Sharjah-Kalba Road or the Al Dhaid Road. The survivors will reach the finish at Dubai World Trade Centre at 4.30pm the same day.