UAE: Three-way battle for Emirati drivers in new UAE Desert Championship
Dubai, UAE, 3 February, 2014: Three Emirati drivers will battle for outright supremacy in the cars division of the UAE Desert Championship, after a tight Round Three contest of the new national rally series attracted a record 96 competitors on two and four wheels at the weekend.
Finishing fourth in the penultimate round of the 2013-14 Baja-style rally, Ahmed Al Maqoodi retains his lead over Mansour Al Helei and Ahmed Al Fahim in the cars overall category, but all three can snatch the inaugural championship trophy when the final round returns in two weeks time.
Al Fahim won both the cars and buggies classes on the 18km loop of undulating desert terrain in his Polaris RZR, but still trails Al Maqoodi and Al Helei overall, while Al Helei’s second place in a Nissan Patrol means he is guaranteed the T2 class title.
Another Emirati, Mohammed Shamsi won the quads class on a Kawasaki 450 while pre-race favorite Sebastian Husseini failed to finish after running out of fuel. The result means Shamsi leads the quad class outright and only needs to finish the final round to secure the overall title.
Meanwhile, UAE-based Sam Sunderland dominated the bikes class, as he led throughout on a Honda CRF 450, completing seven laps and winning easily with a margin of nine minutes over Sean Gaugain and Mohammed Al Balooshi.
Gaugain’s consistency, however, keeps him in the front-running to win the overall title in the bikes class. His second place follows one win and another second in the first two rounds of the UAE Desert Championship, meaning he will be hard to peg back in the final round.
Organised by the Emirates Motor Sport Federation, with TAG Heuer Middle East as the official timekeeper and founding partner, the UAE Desert Championship is run with the support of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), the national motor sport authority.
Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE and Vice President of the FIA, commented: “The UAE Desert Championship continues to grow from strength to strength, with every round attracting more entries than the previous.
“Last weekend’s record number of entries highlights the increasing popularity of the series and vindicates the decision to launch such a championship that supports desert rallying on a local and grass-roots level. We are confident that the final round will attract more than 100 entries, capping off a hugely successful inaugural edition.”
The fourth and final round of the UAE Desert Championship, which provides a natural link into April’s latest edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, is scheduled for 14 February 2014, with the location to be confirmed nearer to the time.
2013-14 UAE Desert Championship – latest standings
1. Ahmad Al Maqoodi, Polaris RZR XP 62pts
2. Mansoor Al Helei, Nissan Patrol 58pts
3. Ahmed Al Fahim, Polaris RZR 45pts
4. Almhan Ibrahim, Nissan Patrol 32pts
5. David Mabbs, FJ Cruiser 25pts
= Khalid Al Jafla, Polaris 2012 XP 25pts
7. Ian Barker, Nissan Patrol 20pts
= Michael Ziegler, Toyota Landcruiser 20pts
9. Michel Fadel, Polaris XP900 15pts
1. Ahmad Al Maqoodi, Polaris RZR XP 69pts
2. Ahmed Al Fahim, Polaris RZR 45pts
3. Khalid Al Jafla, Polaris 2012 XP 25pts
4. Michel Fadel, Polaris XP900 15pts
1. Sean Gaugain, Kawasaki KXF450 69pts
2. Mark Grams, Honda CR250R 60pts
3. Rashed Abdullah, Honda CRF450 44pts
4. Ross Runnalls, Kawasaki KX450F 41pts
= Sam Sunderland, Honda CRF 450 41pts
6. Cameron Waugh, KTM SX250 37pts
7. Jimmy Jonsson, KTM SXF350 32pts
8. Sebastian Husseini, Honda TRX700xx 30pts
= Mohammed Shamsi, Kawasaki 450 30pts
1. Mohammed Shamsi, Kawasaki 450 72pts
2. Colin Mercer, Honda TRX700 54pts
3. Humaid Al Mashghouni, Yamaha Raptor 51pts
4. Sebastian Husseini, Honda TRX700xx 47pts
5. Obaid Al Kitbe, Honda TRX450 36pts
6. Patrick Gersch, Yamaha Raptor 33pts
7. Colin Wilken, Yamaha Raptor 28pts
8. Nasser Al Ali Abdullah, Suzuki LTZ450 20pts
9. Alex MacFarlane, Honda TRX700 18pts