The world’s ultimate desert rally is back for 2012 !

ABU DHABI (UAE). March 08, 2012:

The world’s ultimate desert rally, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is back for 2012, and is once again set to push the best racers on earth to their physical and mental limits over some of the harshest yet most dramatic scenery the world has to offer.

No other rally in the world pits competitors against such demanding terrain – wave after wave of some of the world’s most spectacular sand dunes – yet simultaneously takes in five-star luxury in the form of the stunning hotel that acts as the race’s base hotel, located right in the middle of the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert, and the dynamic, cutting-edge capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi.

Returning for its 22nd running, the Desert Challenge will once again be held across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (30th March to 6th April), with spectators able to enjoy unrivalled access to the action in a number of breathtaking settings. Dedicated, easy-to-access viewing points in the beautiful desert of the Western Region of Al Gharbia will be complemented by the venue for the exhilarating start of the rally, the Super Special Stage (SSS). Located at a soon-to-be-revealed location in the capital itself, the SSS will allow fans to get right up close to the action at the specially designed circuit.

While most of the top cross-country rally drivers and riders are used to battling difficult terrain, the demanding sand dunes and high temperatures experienced across the UAE in April add an extra challenge to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. They also allow racers from across the UAE and GCC, who possess years of experience battling the region’s dunes, a chance of personal glory as they compete on a more level playing field with the visiting international stars.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2012 is being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, and organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATCUAE). It is backed by a number of major sponsors, including the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Nissan and ADNOC.



As in 2011, the endurance race’s base, known as the bivouac, will again be located adjacent to the magnificent Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. This magnificent venue provides a unique contrast between the harshness of endurance rallying and the supreme luxury of the amazing five-star resort, while also focusing the eyes of the world on Al Gharbia.

This year’s rally serves as the opening round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, and Round 2 of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. Registration is open until 13th March to competitors driving cars and trucks complying with FIA T1, T2, T3 and T4 technical regulations, and motorcyclists and quads running under the auspices of the FIM.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, ATCUAE President and founder of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, said: “The Desert Challenge is an iconic event in the UAE and both officials and competitors will be delighted to return to Liwa to challenge and experience our beautiful desert once again. I’d like to express my gratitude to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for always encouraging and supporting myself and the ATCUAE to present an outstanding and top class event every year. Over this new edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge we’ll deliver a more exciting, and challenging competition than ever before.”

In 2011, the car class was won by Desert Challenge legend Stephane Peterhansel, a multiple winner of the event on both two and four wheels, and also the 2012 Dakar Rally champion in the car category. The motorcycle class was won by Spaniard Marc Coma, Nicholas Black took the honours for the Quads in his first ever Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, and the trucks category went to Eduard Nikolaev in his KAMAZ-Master truck.

Alongside them last year, a field of over 170 competitors from 34 different countries battled their way across more than 2000km to reach the finish line in Abu Dhabi. The 2011 edition of the event also set a new milestone by being broadcast on some of the world’s leading sports channels to 121million homes, in 59 different countries, and across 20 different languages.