Massive logistical operation planned by UAE organisers

UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge
2003 FIA and FIM World Cups, final round

For immediate release
Tuesday, September 30th, 2003


Competitor safety of paramount importance

DUBAI (UAE): The organisers of the UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge are currently putting the finishing touches to the massive logistical operation, which will be necessary to ensure the smooth running of the final round of the FIM and FIA World Cups, starting with a Prologue stage on Monday, October 20th.

Arranging travel plans, accommodation and the myriad of small details to prevent any last minute hitches are vital, but Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the chairman of the organising committee, is keen to point out that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the complex organising operation.

~Obviously the safety of our competitors and officials is the main priority,~ said Ben Sulayem. ~To look after over 1500 people for five days in the middle of one of the remotest deserts in the world is a massive operation. For this reason we rely heavily on air support and this year's event will benefit from no less than six helicopters, each manned by a fully-qualified doctor.~

These helicopters fall under the general control on the event of Angus Duthie, who will plot their flight paths, arrange landing and refuelling zones and ensure the smooth running of the safety operation.

~We will also have the benefit of the expertise of nine paramedics and nurses for the five days,~ added Ben Sulayem. ~The Empty Quarter is a particularly inhospitable place and mid-afternoon temperatures can be as high as 45 degrees Centigrade in October. Most of our competitors are experienced in this form of sport, but we must plan for the unknown and be prepared for every eventuality.~

The medical and safety support will be managed by retired Safety Delegate Colonel Dagash Al-Jabri and Chief Medical Officer Ricardo Al-Khoury.

While this year's UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge runs under the chairmanship of Ben Sulayem and event director John Spiller, there is a growing team of officials to handle specific areas of organisation. Their jobs will be supported by a team of up to 140 volunteer marshals for the competitive five days across the sands of the UAE. They will be coordinated by Chief Marshal Richard Taylor.

The competitions for cars and motorcycles will each have their own Clerk of the Course. The experienced Jehanbaz Ali Khan will look after the four-wheel category, while Marc Ducrocq takes charge of the motorcycles. Bahrain's Elie Semaan and France-based Briton Fiona Mulcahy will act as the respective Competitor Liaison Officers.

A bivouac will be set up near the Liwa oasis to house the entire rally during the course of the competitive action and event officials estimate that around 20,000 litres of Oasis water will be consumed, in addition to an estimated 36,000 imperial gallons of fuel.

~There are many other logistical tasks to work on in the coming weeks,~ added Ben Sulayem. ~We just sit down at the end of each day and take a look at every aspect of the Challenge to ensure that we have covered everything.~

This year's UAE Desert Challenge will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence.


For further information about this year's event, contact the Marlboro UAE Desert Challenge office, PO Box 1714, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: + 971 4 2669922 Fax: + 971 4 2666996 or E-mail: rallyuae@emirates.net.ae

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge press officer, Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Fax: + (44) 1952 825001, Tel: + 44 7831 123153
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com

Date issued: 30/09/2003

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