Sulayem highlights crucial roles of Abu Dhabi Aviation, ADNOC as classic desert rally marks 25th anniversary

Dubai, UAE, 22 March, 2015:  When Russian driver Vladimir Vasilyev, top Emirati  rider Mohammed Al Balooshi and the rest of the world’s top cross country rally specialists tackle the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY Nissan next week, a major logistical operation will be  under way in the deserts of the UAE’s Western Region of Al Garbia.

With 162 competitors from 36 countries taking on some of the most unforgiving desert terrain on earth, safety is the major priority for the organisers, the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, as the rally marks its 25th anniversary.

The nature of the event means that more than 10 per cent of competitors will require some form of medical assistance between the start at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday and the finish there six days later, with dehydration and fatigue the biggest threats.

Abu Dhabi Aviation, the Middle East’s largest commercial helicopter operator, again provides the potentially life-saving aerial Search And Rescue (SAR) support for the medical crews who will be on permanent standby.

Another crucial link in the safety and research operation is provided by ADNOC, which supplies   more than 25,000 litres of fuel – aviation fuel for the helicopters and petrol and diesel for the cars, bikes and support vehicles.

To reduce flying time and speed rescue operations, ADNOC will set up mobile refuelling bases in the desert as well as fixed refuelling bases at the bivouac, the rally’s desert base for four nights, and in Madinat Zayed.

“The support of Abu Dhabi Aviation and ADNOC is crucial to allow the event to take place,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the rally founder. “They have given us tremendous assistance over the years and are both very enthusiastic Desert Challenge partners.”

“Safety of competitors, volunteers, and all others involved in the event, is our No. 1 priority, and that’s why in recent years we have commissioned research to discover more about how dehydration and fatigue affects competitors.”

One result of research undertaken is that competitors often exhausted by the demands of the event will be able to recuperate in an air conditioned recovery unit set up at the bivouac, located close to the Qasr Al Sarab Resort.

The 25th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge gets under way with a special spectator stage at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday afternoon, with the cars, buggies, bikes and quads negotiating a 2km time trial on the Grand Prix circuit which is kind on competitors and rally machinery.

The flavour of the event changes dramatically the following morning as the event sets out for five demanding stages of 262km, 279km, 272km, 258km and 233km through the relentless dunes and desert plains of the Western region of Al Garbia.

Taking place under the patronage of H.H.Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western region, the 25th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE.

The Nissan Patrol, the “Hero of All terrain in Life”, is positioned for the 12th year as the official vehicle of the event. The line-up of strategic partners includes the Ruler’s Court in the Western Region, Western Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, Abu Dhabi Police, National Ambulance Service, Nissan, Yas Marina Circuit, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Al Ain Mineral Water, Abu Dhabi Waste Management, Rotana and Centro Hotels - Yas Island, Qasr Al Sarab Resort.