Sulayem says tie up with global shipping, logistics specialists is part of strategic development plan for 25th anniversary event

Dubai, UAE, 10 February, 2015: New official sea links for teams sending rally machinery to the UAE for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Powered by Nissan have been created by a tie up with GAC, one of the world’s leading integrated shipping and logistics companies.

The appointment of official shipping agents is part of a strategic development plan for the event, which celebrates its 25th anniversary from 27 March to 2 April, by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, organisers of the spectacular desert rally.

The agreement means teams will be able to take advantage of special arrangements now in place to carry rally cars, bikes, quads, trucks and other support vehicles to the UAE from ports in France, the UK, Germany, Italy and South Africa.

“We’re very happy to welcome GAC aboard as a new strategic partner for the Desert Challenge,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the ATCUAE President and rally founder.

“The event is already very well established as one which attracts teams from around the world and this is something we are looking to build on again in our 25th year, and in the years ahead.

"To grow the reach of the Desert Challenge we must make it as easy and cost-effective as possible for overseas competitors to bring their vehicles to the UAE. With a full GAC shipping and customs clearance service, and favourable rates, now available, this will help us enormously as we look to new markets, including South Africa.”

 Sean Bradley, Group Marketing Director for GAC said: “We’re delighted to have formed a partnership with the ATCUAE for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which draws competitors to the UAE from around the world who can now benefit from the range of specialist services we provide.

“This builds on our long established sporting involvement, and in particular our links with the world of motor-racing as a provider of vital support services for the World Rally Championship and MotoGP.”

The 25th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is part of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes.

With most of the world’s leading off road teams gearing up for the event, GAC will focus on shipping Desert Challenge machinery from the ports of Marseilles, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Durban and Genoa, the original hub used for rally vehicles transported to the UAE from Europe.

Agents at each port are now primed to provide every assistance to rally teams and individual competitors, and full details have been circulated and also posted on the official website

“Any interested party in these regions can contact our agents directly, get an accurate quote for their exact requirements, and book directly,” said Sudesh Chaturvedi, Manager for Projects and Special Services at GAC.

“At the same time, any interested competitor in a region we are not already serving can make their enquiry through our Dubai office which will then introduce the relevant agent.”

The new agreement closely follows the opening of four new overseas liaison offices given responsibilities to boost Desert Challenge entries from the UK and Ireland, Holland and Belgium, Russia, Ukraine and the former CIS Nations, and South Africa.