UAE: Quad star Sebastian Husseini ready for tough UAE Desert Championship
Dubai, UAE, 29 January, 2014: Sebastian Husseini has proved himself to be one of the best quads riders in the world on the biggest international stage, but he expects a difficult test on his return to home territory in the UAE Desert Championship, which returns to Dubai with a record number of entries this weekend.
Earlier this month the Dubai-based Dutchman won two stages in the grueling Dakar Rally, finished third overall, and but for mechanical problems in Argentina might have achieved his boyhood dream to score victory in the ultimate off road event.
All that is behind him now, and Husseini, who has been riding quads in the deserts of the Emirates for as long as he can remember, is taking nothing for granted in the penultimate round of the UAE Desert Championship as he looks to gain an advantage in the race for the quads title.
A record number of 96 cars, buggies, bikes and quads will tackle the third round of the series at 9am Friday morning on an 18km loop of undulating desert terrain located off the E44 Dubai-Hatta road, 3km after the Lahbab Roundabout. (GPS coordinates: 25.023006,55.617771).
With two of four rounds completed, Husseini is tied for the lead with Emirati rider Mohammed Shamsi and is ready for a big battle against a powerful line up UAE riders all aiming to challenge him in the third round on Friday morning.
“In the Dakar you are always pacing yourself to ride for two weeks, but in the local championship everyone wants to win in front of the home crowd and I race much faster and the pace is more intense,” said Husseini.
“It’s a different kind of pressure, but you can’t take anything for granted because the level of competition in the UAE is extremely high. There are a lot of guys who ride very often in the desert and this is not going to be an easy weekend.”
Organised by the Emirates Motor Sport Federation, with TAG Heuer Middle East as the official timekeeper and founding partner, the inaugural UAE Desert Championship is run with the support of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the national motor sport authority.
“The championship has really caught the imagination of the UAE rally community, and already we have competitors arriving from other Gulf countries and expect the series, and level of competition, to grow and grow,” said Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE and FIA Vice President.
Among the riders aiming to eclipse joint leaders Husseini and Al Shamsi will be Qatar’s Mohammed Abu Issa, winner of the quads title in last year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and fourth in the Dakar Rally last month.
Emirati driver Ahmad Al Maqoodi leads both the buggies and overall cars classes in his Polaris RZR XP, while Sean Gaugain heads the bikes category from Mark Grams. The UAE Desert Championship is by no means a men only event, and entries in the 450cc bikes class this weekend include lady riders Abby Shepherd and Victoria Northway.
With the final round taking place on 14-15 February, the championship provides a natural link into the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge which marks its 24th edition from 3-10 April.
2013-14 UAE Desert Championship – standings after two rounds
1. Ahmad Al Maqoodi, Polaris RZR XP 44pts
2. Mansoor Al Helei, Nissan Patrol 36pts
3. Almhan Ibrahim, Nissan Patrol 32pts
4. David Mabbs, FJ Cruiser 25pts
= Khalid Al Jafla, Polaris 2012 XP 25pts
6. Ahmed Al Fahim, Polaris RZR 20pts
= Ian Barker, Nissan Patrol 20pts
8. Michel Fadel, Polaris XP900 15pts
1. Ahmad Al Maqoodi, Polaris RZR XP 47pts
2. Khalid Al Jafla, Polaris 2012 XP 25pts
3. Ahmed Al Fahim, Polaris RZR 20pts
4. Michel Fadel, Polaris XP900 15pts
1. Sean Gaugain, Kawasaki KXF450 47pts
2. Mark Grams, Honda CR250R 42pts
3. Jimmy Jonsson, KTM SXF350 31pts
4. Sebastian Husseini,Honda TRX700xx 30pts
5. Rashed Abdullah, Honda CRF450 29pts
6. Cameron Waugh, KTM SX250 27pts
7. Sean Linton, KTM EXC 26pts
8. Ross Runnalls, Kawasaki KX450F 25pts
1. Sebastian Husseini Honda TRX700xx 47pts
= Mohammed Shamsi, Kawasaki 450 47pts
3. Obaid Al Kitbe, Honda TRX450 36pts
4. Colin Mercer, Honda TRX700 32pts
5. Humaid Al Mashghouni, Yamaha Raptor 31pts
6. Nasser Al Ali Abdullah, Suzuki LTZ450 20pts
7. Alex MacFarlane, Honda TRX700 18pts
8. Patrick Gersch, Yamaha Raptor 15pts