TAG Heuer official timekeeper, founding partner of UAE Desert Championship

TAG Heuer official timekeeper, founding partner of UAE Desert Championship

08.10.2013: photo caption: ATCUAE President Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem – launching the UAE Desert




photo caption:  ATCUAE President Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem – launching the UAE Desert Championship for cars, buggies, bikes and quads.




Sulayem sees big potential for new national rally series which aims to take racing off the roads




The UAE Desert Championship launches its inaugural season on Friday, with TAG Heuer providing a major boost for the new national championship which is designed to revitalise rallying in the Emirates.
 

The appointment of the luxury Swiss watchmaker as official timekeeper and founding partner was confirmed today in the countdown to the first of four rounds making up the 2013-14 series, which aims to attract and develop fresh talent while providing a new platform for existing competitors.


Staged over a circular 15km route in the Dubai desert, the Baja-style event has attracted a strong response from drivers and riders, and a final entry list to be published before Friday’s start is expected to include more than 50 cars, buggies, bikes and quads.


Among the top challengers in the cars category will be one of the UAE’s most experienced rally drivers, Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, and fellow Emiratis Ahmed Al Fahim and Nabil Al Shamsi.


Leading contenders in the bikes class include multiple Middle East motocross champion  Steve Blackney and David Mabbs, better known for his exploits on four wheels in the Abu Dhabi Desert challenge. With the bikes and quads competing in a two-hour morning session, Mabbs also competes in the cars category which runs alongside the buggies in the afternoon.


“We are delighted to offer our support for the UAE Desert Championship, which is aimed at safeguarding the future of rallying in the UAE and establishing the Emirates as the region’s off-road sporting hub,” said Luc Decroix, General Manager of TAG Heuer Middle East.


“This builds on our active commitment to sport, and our involvement as the official timekeeper underlines our reputation for creating the most accurate timing instruments and wrist timepieces.


“This new association is the continuation of our efforts to participate in the development of motorsports in the region. TAG Heuer is today deeply involved with the Dubai Autodrome. We are also helping local talents to develop further, like Mahmoud Tannir, the double UAE Sportsbike champion, or the Dubai Falcon Racing Team, the all emirati karting team.


“In rallying, we were already involved in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. It is a great honor and pleasure for us to work again hand in hand with Dr Mohammed Ben Sulayem.”


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, the UAE Desert Championship capitalises on the country’s spectacular natural assets for the staging of cross country events.


“We have some of the best terrain in the world for off-road rallying, and this offers great potential for the new championship to established itself, and take the sport back to where it belongs,” said ATCUAE President Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem.


“There was a growing demand for a new series of competitive events run in a natural environment, with an emphasis on safety. One of our priorities is to discourage young people from racing on the roads, and bring their love for speed into a controlled motor sport environment.”


With practice prohibited, the route for the opening round , running in the Al Yufrah 2 desert area south of Dubai, will be revealed to competitors on Friday morning before the bikes and quads go into action between 9am-11am, followed by the cars and buggies from 2.30pm-4.30pm.


The short track rally with a marked route is one of three event formats to be used in the series. Some rounds will consist of medium track events run over five laps of approximately 40kms each , while others will be long track events of around 200kms, both requiring the use of GPS for navigation.


The longer events will provide good preparation for those competitors contesting 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 and the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.


Scrutineering for the opening round takes place at Dubai Autodrome between 2pm-8pm tomorrow (Wednesday).  Access to the rally HQ and service park for Friday’s event is found on the Jebel Ali-Lahbab Road, 12kms from Junction 29 on the Dubai-Al Ain Road near The Sevens rugby venue.




2013-14 UAE Desert Championship – other rounds:


Round 2: November 15

Round 3: January 31

Round 4: February 14-15.



- Tony Lewis, Total Communications Dubai - also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tag-heuer-official-partner-timekeeping-uae-desert-championship---116163.html

08.10.2013 / MaP

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