Emirates Desert Championship Continues to Attract Foreign Interest

Second round of the 2016-17 Emirates Desert Championship takes place in Margham region of Dubai on Friday 11th November 2016.

The Emirates Desert Championship, the UAE’s national baja rally championship for cars, buggies, motorcycles and quads, continues to grow with over 103 confirmed entries across all classes for the second round this weekend, including several travelling from overseas just for the event.

As well as the regular competitors coming from Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, an increasing amount of Europe based competitors are being attracted to the event for its excellent reputation for safety and organization, as well as spectacular desert terrain.

“The new season is now fully underway, and year on year, more foreign competitors are coming to race and rally in the UAE”, said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“As the cold European winter closes in, many see the UAE as an ideal destination to race for the next few months, and we are more than happy to welcome them along. It is also perfect timing for those in the sport of Cross Country Rallying, as competitors can come do some training here ahead of the big international events such as the Dakar Rally taking place at the start of 2017. Our desert is second to known and we are fortunate to have it available to us.” added Ben Sulayem 

Among those coming from Europe for the second round are Swedish driver Annie Seel, returning to the UAE having greatly enjoyed her first Emirates Desert Championship experience in October, as well as Russian driver Nikita Abramov, making his debut in a desert event. Both will be competing as part of the Saluki Motorsport Team, in a Polaris RZR and T1 SsangYong Musso respectively. Also making his debut will be Swedish rider Mathias Holmberg, having previously taken part in the FIM World Championship Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Mathias plans to make the trip to the UAE a family affair with his young son planning to compete in the Dubai Motocross Club Championship while they are here.

Following his BUGGY win at the opening round, Briton Mark Powell will have to contend with last season’s champion Ahmed Al Fahim, who will be taking part with the Polaris UAE Racing Team, having missed the opening event of the season.

In the MOTORCYCLE event, round one winner Sam Sunderland will be sitting this event as he is in Europe preparing for the Dakar Rally, so last season’s champion Ross Runnalls will be keen to pick up his first win of the year, but will be challenged all the way by Mohamed Al Balooshi and Mohammed Jaffar.

The Emirates Desert Championship is a five round series organized by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF), with the remaining three rounds of the championship scheduled for Friday 20th January 2017, Friday 3rd February 2017 and Friday 17th February 2017.