Keeping competitors, volunteers hydrated a major priority as World Cup rally takes on the Rub Al Khali

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 23 March, 2015:  Scientific research carried out in the UAE will safeguard a small army of competitors and volunteers from the risk of dehydration when the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan celebrates its 25thanniversary next week.

With competitive stages of up to 279km in length cutting through the giant dunes of the Rub Al Khali, one of the most desolate desert areas on earth, making sure the drivers, riders and marshals have ample water supplies is a major priority and a difficult task.

For the last ten years that job has been made easier by Al Ain Mineral Water,one of UAE's largest bottled drinking water manufacturers, and the brand has become as synonymous with the Desert Challenge as the Nissan Patrols used to create the route each year.

Thirsty work – Spanish rider Jordi Viladoms during last year’s Desert Challenge.

“We’re very happy to have Al Ain Water on board again this year as they work with us to overcome the problem to keep everyone properly hydrated in the desert, which is not an easy task” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the rally founder.

“The importance of this was highlighted by the research we carried out three years ago which showed that competitors and volunteers working in high temperatures can face a very serious risk of dehydration.

“In a nutshell, dehydration affects physical and mental performance, and even at low levels can lead to severe physiological consequences. Side effects include poor concentration, co-ordination and reaction time which can lead to accidents for competitors.

“It’s vital to have enough water readily available to help them, and to protect our marshals working out in the desert for hours on end from the threat of heat stress and exhaustion.”

The ATCUAE sets up water stations across the five desert stages which follow next Saturday’s super special spectator stage at Yas Marina Circuit. Competitors and marshals set off into the desert each day with plentiful supplies while the rally bivouac, close to the Qasr Al Sarab Resort, is a virtual oasis thanks to extensive supplies of Al Ain Water,

At the end of the long, arduous desert stages competitors will be able to unwind and rehydrate inside the Al Ain Lounge, an air-conditioned dedicated relaxation area.

Findings from the research conducted by the ATCUAE in 2012 in conjunction with the University of Ulster, one of the UK’s top learning and research institutes, is now helping motor sport organisers around the world to combat the threat of dehydration.

Even so, the nature of cross country rallying means that some Desert Challenge competitors will require treatment, and a 20-strong team of doctors and trauma specialists led by Dr. Sean Petherbridge, the ATCUAE’s Chief Medical Officer, will be based at the bivouac.

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 the second round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and the opening round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes.

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, Abu Dhabi Waste Management, Rotana and Centro Hotels - Yas Island, Qasr Al Sarab Resort, Explorer and DP World.