His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum visits DIMC

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

For immediate release
Thursday, October 16th, 2003


Ambitious route timetable takes shape

DUBAI (UAE): His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates Airlines and Chairman of the UAE Olympic Committee, visited the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) this week to discuss plans and view final preparations for the UAE Desert Challenge.

The final round of both the FIA and FIM World Cups starts with a brand new Prologue stage on Palm Island, Jumeira, at 4pm on Monday, October 20th. H. H. Sheikh Ahmed discussed the event with Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the 14-times FIA Middle East rally champion and chairman of the organising committee, and Saeed Hareb of the host DIMC venue.

~We have been working flat out for some weeks now to ensure that the UAE Desert Challenge is the biggest and most successful motorsport event in the Middle East so far,~ said Ben Sulayem. ~It is a major boost for us to be based at the DIMC and H. H. Sheikh Ahmed came along to see how the event was progressing and how the preparations were going.~

As competitors, officials and members of the world media begin to arrive in Dubai in advance of next week's five-day motorsport bonanza across the sands of the UAE, the organisers have released further details of the route timetable and event structure. The actual waypoints and tracks taken by each day's special stage are a closely-guarded secret and are only handed to race competitors the evening before the actual start.

After the Prologue stage on the new Palm Jumeira development on Monday, the competitive action switches to the remote deserts of the United Arab Emirates. The official start will at the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi at 09.30 on Tuesday morning, where defending bike champion Cyril Despres will lead the entry of motorcycles, cars and trucks into the first 318 kms special stage across the Monassir Plateau.

After spending the first of three night under the stars at the bivouac, situated near the Liwa oasis, leg two heads out into the Rub Al-Khali for 21 kms to the start of the second 388 kms section. A 58 kms road liaison will return the surviving teams to Liwa. Like the second leg, the third section is split by five passage controls and takes teams on a 359 kms loop through the Rub Al-Khali.

The fourth and final leg on Friday, October 24th, is split into two special stages. The first starts 29 kms from Liwa and runs for 202 kms. An 81 kms link section then takes teams into the final 191 kms stage, which finishes near the new Emirates Road. A 25 kms liaison will take teams back to the official podium finish at the Dubai International Marine Club, scheduled for 4pm.

This year's UAE Desert Challenge is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander and His Highness 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 office, Dubai International Marine Club, Dubai, UAE, Tel: + (9714) 3994673, Fax: + (9714) 3994149, Mob: + (971) (050) 5594369
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com/press releases

Date issued: 16/10/2003

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