ATCUAE extends partnership with Nissan Middle East for UAE’s spectacular World Cup desert rally

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE, signs the new agreement with Samir Cherfan, Managing Director, Nissan Middle East.


Dubai, UAE, 18 March, 2014: The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and Nissan Middle East have announced a new partnership agreement for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, underlining a dual commitment to ensure the event continues to stand out on the world stage.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE and founder of the event, and Samir Cherfan, Managing Director, Nissan Middle East, signed the agreement today and revealed the new branding for the spectacular rally, the 24th edition of which takes place from 5-10 April.

The 2014 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY Nissan sees the Nissan Patrol, “Hero of All terrain in Life”, installed for an 11th year as the official vehicle of the event, which forms the third round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

“Nissan has become an invaluable partner in our work to promote and develop the Desert Challenge, and I’m pleased to extend this relationship again as we look to secure the event’s future for many years ahead,” said Sulayem, the FIA Vice President.

“Nissan Middle East shares our enthusiasm for the Desert Challenge, as well as our commitment to its long-term success, and I’m confident this partnership will guarantee that the event continues to set the standard in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.”

Samir Cherfan said: “Nissan has been sponsoring the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for the past 10 years, and for the 11th year we are taking our partnership to the next level by co-sponsoring the event.

“We are delighted to be a major actor of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, powered by Nissan, since it is one the most prominent desert rallies in the world and gives us the opportunity to reinforce our strong heritage in the Middle East.”

Taking place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is also the first round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes and quads.

Once again, the Nissan Patrol has played a crucial role in the planning and staging of the event. For the 11th year in succession, Nissan Patrols have carried the route planning team deep into the UAE’s Western Region of Al Garbia, crossing a sea of giant dunes to carve out the competitive stages which will test competitors and their rally machinery to the limit next month.

Throughout the event, a fleet of Nissan Patrols will be at the disposal of the organisers to ensure the event runs smoothly to its conclusion.

As in previous years, the Nissan Patrol Stage on the fourth leg, 9 April, will be arguably the rally’s toughest, stretching across some 239 kms of the most testing rallying terrain available.

More than 100 drivers and riders from around the world will tackle the 24th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, and with entries still arriving daily the final starting list is certain to include Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk, who lead the FIA World Cup series after winning the first two rounds in Russia and Italy.

The event gets under way on 5 April with a super special spectator stage on Yas Island, which is also the finishing point for the rally on 10 April following five days of spectacular cross country rallying at its best.