CC Al Attiyah takes super special win in UAE Desert Challenge

UAE DESERT CHALLENGE (October 25th-31st, 2008)
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country rallies, final round

For immediate release
Sunday, October 26th, 2008


X-raid Russia's Novitskiy holds third heading into desert stages

MINA SEYAHI (UAE): Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner held first position after the opening two-kilometre timed super special stage at Jebel Ali, which got competitive action underway in the 2008 UAE Desert Challenge on Sunday afternoon.

At the wheel of his X-raid BMW X3 CC, Al-Attiyah is bidding to become the first driver in history to win three FIA titles in a single season, having already clinched the FIA International Cup for Bajas title with the Trebur-based AlgoDyne Green Power Racing outfit. He also finds himself in a commanding position in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship with two rounds remaining next month.

He is also hoping to become the first Arab since fellow Qatari Saeed Al-Hajri won the inaugural FIA World Cup event in 1993 to win the UAE Desert Challenge.

Al-Attiyah set a potent time of 2m 14.56s, with Poland's former FIA European rally champion Krzysztof Holowczyc in second place in late afternoon temperatures that were still well above 30 degrees Centigrade and threatening to be even higher in the Empty Quarter for the remainder of the week. 

Russian X-raid team mates Leonid Novitskiy and Oleg Tyupenkin got their Desert Challenge underway with a solid third position over the sandy and dusty opening two kilometres of the new spectator stage. Seventy-five bikes, three trucks and 37 cars took part in the short opening stage.

"I know from my experience of the event last year that I have a great chance to win this rally," said Al-Attiyah, who was the fastest driver in the event in 2007, but retired with electrical problems on the final morning. "I started well last year, so tomorrow's stage will be important for us. The rally begins when we reach the open desert."

Tomorrow (Monday) the two X-raid teams take a road liaison section from the Dubai emirate to the official Monday morning start of the event outside the luxurious Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi.

A second liaison will then guide crews to the start of the opening 281km desert section between Al-Dafrah and the overnight halt at Moreeb hill, near Liwa, deep inside the Abu Dhabi emirate. This traditional opening section features fast sandy tracks, gatch roads and high-speed off-road piste.

Crews will then tackle three loop stages around the Liwa bivouac over the subsequent three days, with the event reaching a conclusion on Friday, October 31st after two shorter selective sections on the return to the Dubai emirate.

2008 UAE Desert Challenge
Positions after super special stage (2km):

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Tina Thörner (S) BMW X3 CC  2m 14.56s
2. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara  2m 16.69s
3. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC  2m 28.68s
4. Andrew Bowler (GB)/Simon Mumby (GB) Bowler Nemesis  2m 32.26s
5. Bruce Garland (AUS)/Harry Suzuki (J) Isuzu D-Max   2m 32.87s
6. Jun Mitsuhashi (J)/Akira Muira (J) Toyota Land Cruiser  2m 37.22s
7. Hamad Al-Thani (QA)/Imad Nabhan (SYR) Nissan Patrol  2m 38.37s
8. Raed Baker (UAE)/Nabil Ahmadi (UAE) Mitsubishi L200  2m 39.16s
9. Glen Reid (UAE)/Haydn Walker (UAE) Nissan   2m 44.37s
10. Par Wallentheim (S)/Dan-Olov Ohlsson (S) Isuzu D-Max  2m 44.69s


Further information and photos are available at www.x-raid.de or contact Yvette Theisen at X-raid GmbH, Tel: + 49 (0) 6147 204670, E-mail: y.theisen@x-raid.de.

Date issued: 26/10/2008

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