CC Schroder and Garces survive heat and daunting dunes to achieve debut finishes at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge




FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 3
April 1-6, 2017

For immediate release
Thursday, April 6th, 2017


· Garces and Schröder bring South Racing cars to finish in 22nd and 23rd overall

ABU DHABI (UAE): South Racing’s duo of Hernan Garces and Jürgen Schröder survived temperatures as high as 50 degrees Centigrade inside the cars and some of the most daunting dunes on earth to finish their first Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

The German-based team fielded a Ford Ranger for Garces and fellow Chilean navigator Juan Pablo Latrach and a Nissan Navara for Schröder and his son Maximilian.

The quartet overcame their fair share of problems in the treacherous deserts of the southern United Arab Emirates and two days of soaring temperatures to reach the finish in 22nd and 23rd in the unofficial final results.

“It is a tough race that is for sure,” said Jürgen Schröder at the final control in Yas Marina. “It was our first time and definitely we will come back. Nowhere in the world you have so much dunes – tough dunes as well. On the first stage we had an overheating issue. It was just so hot. On the third day we broke the front diff after the front drive shaft. Afterwards we had two nice days. It’ a really nice race and nice people.”

Garces enjoyed his experience. “Too much to learn on our first time in this kind of dunes. The first day was difficult. The second was more difficult. The last two days we enjoyed a lot. Two days it was so hot, almost impossible. You cannot think and you make a lot of mistakes. But the last days were excellent.”

“An interesting rally, for sure,” said South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “Abu Dhabi and the dunes are always a challenge. If you look at it on Google maps it looks easy until you are out there and, with the temperatures they experienced, it was a baptism of fire. They both had clean runs over the last two days and were feeling more confident and both want to come back next for another go.

“It was 50 (°C) outside and the cars were running around 60 interior temperatures. That is obviously a huge challenge for the vehicles, especially on Jürgen’s car. This car had come from South Africa and had never been above 40°C. We had some issues on the first day with that. The second day was overheating, which we sorted out during the rally. In the end everyone is happy to be at the finish.”

Garces and Schröder slotted into seventh and 10th positions through the opening cross-over laps of the super special stage at the Al-Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi, but it also meant that they were given second and first starting positions for the first of five desert selective sections.

The German began superbly and was amongst the top six times through the opening passage controls. He eventually reached Qasr al Sarab in 18th position, three places behind Garces after a stage that had featured a lot of tricky sand dunes in temperatures that reached over 50°C inside the cars.

The second stage became a real test of driver stamina and determination in the punishing heat and incessant dune crossings. Garces made a couple of minor mistakes that resulted in him stopping at PC3. Schröder got stuck several times in the soft sand and overheated his body to a degree and made it to PC3. Both drivers slipped out of the top 20 as a result of time penalties.

With penalties imposed for numerous competitors by race officials, the South Racing duo settled into 22nd and 23rd overall at the start of the penultimate selective section – the last of the loop stages before the winding trail back to a finish in Abu Dhabi.

They enjoyed two solid days in slightly cooler conditions and achieved the goal of finishing one of the toughest events in the world.

2017 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – positions after leg 5:
1. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (ARE) Peugeot 3008 DKR 19hr 16min 24.8sec
2. Martin Prokop (CZE)/Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford F-150 Evo 19hr 57min 51.1sec
3. Mohammed Abu Issa (QAT)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 21hr 29min 02.7sec
4. Khalid Al-Feraihi (SAU)/Ali Hassan Obaid (ARE) Nissan Patrol 23hr 37min 58.3sec
5. Yayha Al-Helai (ARE)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Nissan Pick-Up 23hr 47min 42.6sec
6. Mark Powell (GBR)/Quin Evans (GBR) Fast & Speed Buggy 24hr 02min 39.5sec
22. Hernan Garces (CHL)/Juan Pablo Latrach (CHL) South Racing Ford Ranger 56hr 56min 22.2sec
23. Jürgen Schröder (DEU)/Max Schröder (DEU) South Racing Nissan Navara 57hr 14min 23.3sec


For further information: contact Scott Abraham, South Racing, Email: Scott.Abraham@southracing.com, Tel: + 49 172 6662880.

Facebook group: South Racing








Date issued: 06/04/2017

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