Mayer flies female flag across the sands of the UAE

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

For immediate release
Saturday, October 18th, 2003


Belgian co-driver Neven flies in from wedding in Europe

DUBAI (UAE): German's Andrea Mayer is the only female driver set to take part in the UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge, which gets underway with a Prologue stage on the Palm, Jumeira, at 4pm on Monday (October 20th).

But the determined German is not overawed by the challenge that lies ahead and is relishing the thought of competing as the fifth member of the Mitsubishi Motor Sport's team in a factory-built T2 Mitsubishi Pajero, powered by a torquey diesel engine.

~I have been to the Desert Challenge several times as a motorcycle rider and enjoy my time here,~ said Mayer. ~The route is always challenging and it will be more of a test for me this time as a member of the official factory Mitsubishi team. I will drive a Pajero here and then the plan is to switch to another Pajero for the Dakar Rally in January.~

Mayer was born at Kaufbeuren in southern Germany and began her two-wheel racing career in 1989. She gained a reputation as a determined rider, often putting male competitors to shame with her purposeful performances. Andrea won the Ladies' Cup in the Moroccan Atlas Rally on several occasions and was the leading female competitor in the Granada-Dakar and Tunisia rallies in 1996.

Ladies' Cup victories followed in the UAE Desert Challenge in 1997 and 1998 and she was classified 32nd overall in the 1999 Granada-Dakar Rally and 23rd overall in the Arras-Madrid-Dakar Rally.

~I loved the challenge of riding the Dakar,~ added Mayer. ~You needed to be totally focused and prepared to push your own body to the very limits of endurance. But then I had the opportunity to switch to four-wheels and I began entering rallies in a car.~

Mayer signed a contract with Mitsubishi Motor Sports this year, after finishing fifth overall in a Ralliart-prepared Pajero in the Rally of Tunisia and setting some competitive times in Morocco on her way to 16th place. She and Bavarian co-driver Andreas Schulz - himself a twice winner of the Dakar Rally - finished as runners-up in the Baja Germany this year.

Andrea is a qualified journalist and spends her time away from competing as a racing instructor and tour guide. She lists her hobbies as mountain biking, skiing and off-road riding.

The second lady on this year's UAE Desert Challenge's entry list is the Belgian Solange Neven, who flew into Dubai this weekend after attending a wedding in Belgium. Neven, from Saint Truiden, will co-drive for the Belgian Patrick Beckers in car 235, a Toyota HDJ 80 entered in the T2 class. They form part of a two-car Belgian team, with Luc Beckers and Luc de Coker completing the line-up in a similar car.

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 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: 18/10/2003

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