DESERT CHALLENGE RESEARCH PROJECT AIMS TO REDUCE THREAT OF SPINAL INJURIES IN CROSS COUNTRY RALLIES

Sulayem says study will give better understanding of injury threats to competitors

Scientific research to be carried out during this week’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge POWERED BY Nissan will help to reduce the threat of spinal injuries to competitors taking part in cross country rallies worldwide.

The research will be conducted by the rally organisers, the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, in conjunction with the FIA, motor sport’s world governing body, and the Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety.

Up to 20 of the 62 cars contesting the second round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, which starts with tomorrow’s (Saturday) super special spectator stage, will be fitted with accident data recorders (ADRs) to measure the amount of g-force that drivers and co-drivers are exposed to during the event.

The data will be used in tandem with the latest virtual vehicle crash simulator technology to design a new state-of-the-art driver cockpit safety package including seats that give competitors a new level of protection from the threat of spinal injuries.

“To begin with, the research will give us a better understanding of the cause and extent of spinal injuries that competitors can be susceptible to in cross country rallies,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and President of EMSF.

“The aim is to lessen the threat of spinal injuries in cross-country rallies by creating a driver cockpit safety package using crash simulations with virtual reproduction of injury mechanisms.” The latest technology will be used to detail analysis of bone fractures, severed ligaments, and other injuries that can occur during the kind of impact that cars endure in cross country rallies like the Desert Challenge.

“We want to know exactly what amount of g-force can result in a competitor’s spine being broken,” said Dr. Sean Petherbridge, the ATCUAE’s Chief Medical Officer, who will work on the study alongside a Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety engineer and a research specialist.

“The objective is to design cross country rally seats which do not break under normal operation but which compress to absorb the energy in high impact situations in order to protect the spine.”

The study will be the latest in a series of exercises carried out during the Desert Challenge in recent years which have established the UAE as a leader in motor sport scientific research.

Findings from research conducted by the ATCUAE during the 2012 Desert Challenge in conjunction with the University of Ulster, one of the UK’s top learning and research institutes, is now helping motor sport organisers around the world to combat the threat of dehydration.

Another first of its kind ATCUAE study into the effects of fatigue on drivers and riders in cross country rallying, carried out during the 2014 Desert Challenge, delivered a five-point plan to increase safety on events and save lives.

Taking place under the patronage of H.H.Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western region, the 26th Desert Challenge starts with a super special spectator stage at Al Forsan Off-Road Race of Champions Circuit in Abu Dhabi on 2 April.

The Nissan Patrol, the “Hero of All terrain in Life”, is positioned for the 13th year as the official vehicle of the event.


The line-up of strategic sponsors and partners includes the Ruler’s Court in the Western Region, Western Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, Abu Dhabi Police, National Ambulance Service, Nissan, Yas Marina Circuit, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Tadweer (The Center of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi), Rotana and Centro Hotels - Yas Island, Qasr Al Sarab Resort, and DP World.