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UAE Desert Challenge 2008 Special-Newssection (FIA Cross Country Worldcup)





This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com special of the UAE Desert Challenge 2008, last round of the FIA Worldcup for Cross Country Rallys. To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









UAE Desert Challenge: Nakheel drives Desert Challenge to new hights.




Mohammed Ben Sulayem said today that the backing of Nakheel, Dubai’s master developer behind iconic projects, such as the Palm trilogy, Waterfront and The World, can help drive the UAE Desert Challenge to new heights. Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers, publically thanked Nakheel for its four-year sponsorship of the event, which marks the climax of both the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup for cars and trucks, and the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes.

With more than 160 competitors, and a powerful assembly of cross country rally machinery, now arriving by air, land and sea for the 18th edition of the Desert Challenge starting on Sunday week, Sulayem has promised to make the pulsating event an even bigger and better spectacle in the years ahead.

"Our aim is to continue to develop the event to attract more top drivers, as well as the leading manufacturers, foreign teams, competitors from across the Middle East, and of course the public," said Sulayem. "Nakheel have given us great support to make this such a strong event, and one which sets the standard for international cross country rallying, and we have a very solid base to build on in the years ahead."

Chris O’Donnell - CEO, Nakheel said: "We are delighted to be a major sponsor of the Desert Challenge for a fourth consecutive year. The Desert Challenge is an event that features a selection of the world’s leading rallying talent, attracts a large global audience, and has played a key part in raising the profile of the UAE as a destination.

And there will be some dramatic action on the new 2km super stage beside the kart racing track adjacent to Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa as the powerful multi-national line-up of cars, bikes and trucks race against the clock.

While there are realistic hopes for the first victory by an Arab driver since 1993, a succession of overseas challengers will be arriving with the firm intention making sure the title travels outside the Middle East again.

No Belgian driver has won the event to date, but Dave Ingels and Steven Rotsaert, in a pair of Bowler Wildcats, hope to be in the thick of the action when the rally enters the Rub Al Khali, or Empty Quarter, for a battle with some of the toughest desert terrain on earth.

The German assault will be led by the team of Amadeus Matzker and Lee Palmer in a Land Rover 110 and Wolfgang Wels, accompanied by UAE-based co-driver Carsten Sodemann, in a Mitsubishi Pajero V6.

Swede Olle Ohlsson, who first tackled the event on a bike in the mid 1990s, is back again, this time navigating for fellow countryman Par ‘Pelle’ Wallentheim in an Isuzu D-Max, while Aussie Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki enter another D-Max.

Japan’s Mitsubishi works driver, Hiroshi Masuoka, won the Desert Challenge at the sixth attempt in 2004. Another challenger Japanese driver, Jun Mitsuhashi, could use that for inspiration this time in partnership with Akira Miura in a Toyota Landcruiser. Meanwhile, Italians Giuseppe and Christian Belotti make their bid in another Land Rover 110.

2008/10/25 | 12:29 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Tony Lewis






















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