CC Al Attiyah and Saby head Algodyne Green Power Racing Team challenge in the UAE


UAE DESERT CHALLENGE (October 28th-November 2nd), round 5 of 5


For immediate release

Monday, October 22nd, 2007 




X-Raid team fields powerful team lime-up on sands of the UAE

Punishing desert rally offers crucial Dakar test for X-Raid Team

Brazilian Paolo Nobre aims to clinch FIA World Cup title

TREBUR (Germany): The AlgoDyne Green Power Racing Team heads to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates next week to take part in the gruelling UAE Desert Challenge, the final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup, which starts near Dubai on Sunday, October 28th and finishes on Friday, November 2nd.


The Trebur-based team has entered three X-Raid BMW X3 CCs in the six-leg event, which crosses some of the remotest terrain in the Rub Al Khali or Empty Quarter region of the Arabian desert between the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


French team newcomer Bruno Saby will team up with fellow countryman Alain Guehennec, alongside Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and his Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner.


The French duo of Guerlain Chicherit and Matthieu Baumel will drive the third X-Raid BMW, while the Brazilian privateers Paolo Nobre and Filipe Palmeiro will also receive limited factory support for a fourth private car challenging for the X-Raid team’s second FIA World Cup title in four years.


The Trebur-based team won the title in 2004 with the UAE driver Khalifa Al-Mutaiwei and Nobre finds himself in an excellent position to repeat the feat in the UAE.


Al-Attiyah has just returned from taking an excellent second place in the Cyprus Rally to keep his 2007 FIA Middle East rally title hopes alive, but the Qatari is relishing the prospect of lining up against so many top teams in the UAE.


“In Morocco recently we had a few problems with punctures, but the BMW was fantastic,” said Al-Attiyah. “We checked the times when we had no problems with the tyres and they were on a par with or faster than our main Volkswagen rivals. The engine now is superb in the X3. We had more tyre wear than normal at the rear, so after the rally we carried out a small test with a new rear suspension set-up and it was fantastic. The car was quicker and there was not as much tyre wear.


“This will not be a factor on the sandy stages in the UAE, but it gives me great confidence for the next Dakar. On the UAE Desert Challenge I am confident that we can match and beat the other teams. I feel at home in the sand dunes. It is going to be a fantastic rally. Working with Tina should be fun. She has worked with many great drivers before.”


Saby, who took the place of the late Colin McRae in the X-Raid team line-up, teamed up with Al-Attiyah’s normal co-driver Guehennec for the first time at a test session in Morocco last week and quickly acclimatised to working with his new team. The Grenoble driver is no stranger to the UAE Desert Challenge and won the event in 1996 with French co-driver Dominique Serieys.


“We have a good team lime-up with a fine balance of experience, pace and natural aggression,” said X-Raid team director Sven Quandt. “I am very pleased with the way that we have progressed in a short space of time and am looking forward to this useful test in the UAE. It will be a good chance to see how the cars and the team work at higher temperatures on sandy surfaces.”


The UAE Desert Challenge began in 1991 and became a round of the FIA World Cup in 1993. With the exception of the year when the X-Raid Team clinched the FIA World Cup in 2004, it has been the traditional final round of the championship and the last opportunity for professional teams to test their cars before making last-minute preparations for the Dakar Rally.


For that reason it always attracts a strong entry, with drivers keen to carry out final shakedowns of their cars in hot, dry desert conditions before everyone’s attention switches to the African classic in January.


The X-Raid team faces the might of both the Volkswagen Motorsport and Team Mitsubishi Ralliart operations in the UAE, with Volkswagen fielding drivers Carlos Sainz, Giniel de Villiers, Mark Miller and Carlos Sousa and Mitsubishi opting to run three cars, headed by defending UAE Desert Challenge champion Luc Alphand and Spaniard Joan ‘Nani’ Roma.


In addition, the X-Raid team faces competition from Spaniard Jose-Luis Monterde in a Schlesser Buggy and the UAE-based Liberty Rally Team in a trio of Chevrolets.


After scrutineering and documentation in the bustling and chaotic sporting capital of the UAE on Friday, October 26th and Saturday, October 27th, the competitive action will get underway on Sunday, October 28th with a timed super special stage from 16.00hrs at nearby Umm Suqueim. The event will be based at the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) in Mina Seyahi.


The super special is a mere warm-up for the traditional five desert legs of the event, which will take crews through the outer extremities of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.


A road liaison will steer teams to the traditional start at the spectacular Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on Monday, October 29th, before X-Raid crews head straight into the first selective section between Abu Dhabi and Al-Dafra. A road liaison takes crews on to the official bivouac at Moreeb, near to the desert oasis town of Liwa.


The second leg is the first of three loops around the Moreeb bivouac on Tuesday, October 30th, with traditional desert terrain on offer from 06.50hrs. Leg three follows a similar format, albeit in a different direction and includes many treacherous dune passes on sand that becomes increasingly soft as daytime temperatures rise. Early morning fog is common at this time of year and adds to the hazards faced by teams in the UAE Desert Challenge.


Legs three and four on Wednesday, October 31st and Thursday, November 1st follow their own winding trails across the fast gatch roads and sand trails of the Abu Dhabi emirate, before two selective sections on the final day take crews from Moreeb back to Dubai and the ceremonial finish at the DIMC from 16.30hrs.




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: 22/10/2007

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