Flying Dutchman Erik Van Loon is among the abroad stars all set for battle with the Arab world's top desert specialists in next month's Dubai International Baja which establishes a new double World Cup date for the UAE in cross nation rallying.
Van Loon and co-driver Wouter Rosegaar, who ended up runners-up in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, return to action in the UAE in a Toyota Hilux for the 2nd round of this year's FIA World Cup for Cross Nation Rallies.
The T1 prototype class likewise brings a double access from France, with Ronan Chabot aided by Gilles Tillot in a T1 Toyota Hillux and Yannick Commagnac accompanied by Herve Lavergne in a 2WD SMG buggy.
Leading the UAE obstacle will be Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, who contested the Dakar Rally for the very first time in January and will be planning to underscore his visibility on top level of cross country rallying on home area in an Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 2008 DKR.
With Al Qassimi relying this time on the local knowledge of top Emirati co-driver Khalid Al Kendi, his normal partner in World Rally Champion events, Ulsterman Chris Patterson, will certainly come with young Emirati Mansour Al Helei in a T2 Toyota Landcruiser.
An additional big UAE hopeful will certainly be Ahmed Al Maqoodi that won the candidate event organized in Dubai in December that resulted in the rally being added to this year's FIA World Cup schedule. He will be partnered in a T3 Polaris buggy by Obaid Al Kitbe, the 2012 Desert Difficulty quads champion.
Organised by the Automobile and Touring Club of UAE and going through the Al Qudra desert from 9-11 March, the Dubai International Baja is part of a three-event swing of the Middle East which also includes the Desert Challenge (1-7 April) and Qatar's Sealine Cross Country Rally (16-21 April).
" We're developing to a powerful beginning line-up which is extremely motivating for the Baja International Rally as it's a brand-new event leading ahead for rallying in the UAE, and the region as a whole," claimed Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE and the Emirates Motor Sport Federation.
Taking place under the patronage of H.H.Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the rally is sustained Dubai Sport Council, Dubai Authorities and Dubai Civil Defence. With the Bab Al Shams Desert Hotel & Health club supplying a luxurious setting, the occasion's functional HQ and technical parc ferme will certainly go to the nearby Bab Al Shams Sector.
The early autos entry list includes Poland's Aron Damzala and Szymon Gospodarczyk in a T1 Toyota Hillux, UAE-based Lebanese vehicle driver Emil Khneisser along with South African Manie Kruiss in a T2 Nissan Patrol and China's Mao Ruijin with Spain's Rafael Tornabell in a T3 Polaris Spain Rafael Tornabell.
Ruling FIA World Cup champs Nasser Al Attiyah and Adel Hussain Abdulla lead the Qatari challenge. Al Attiyah will certainly be partnered by French co-driver Mathieu Baumel in a Toyota Hilux which they required to success in 2014's Desert Obstacle on their method to the World Cup title
Abdulla, World Cup T2 production class winner for the last 2 years, partner with French co-driver Sebastien Delaunay. Another Qatari, Mohammed Abu Issa, competes together with French co-driver Xavier Panseri in the Mini All 4 Racing which they took to 10th place in the Dakar Rally back in January. It was an owning launching for Abu Issa, two times a victor of the Desert Obstacle quads title.
Saudi Arabia's Yasir Seaidan with French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter in a Toyota Landcruiser plannings to bury his dissatisfaction after losing the 2016 T2 crown to Abdulla after dropping points in Morocco following an objection over the validity of his car.
With the FIA World Cup collection for cars and buggies beginning in Russia on Friday, the Dubai International Baja offers a tough beginning point for bike and quad rides in this year's FIM Bajas World Cup.
The candidate event winner on two wheels, UAE-based British driver Dave McBride, is among the very early entrances in Dubai together with 4 Kazak challengers, Kirill Solokha, Motto Antimirov, Timur Raizkiyenov and Asamat Tieulessov. Other bikes entries are in from Emiratis Ibrahim Bugla and Khalid Al Falasi and British bikers David Mabbs and Alan Boyter.
1. Emirati Ahmed Al Maqoodi goes for even more success after winning the candidate occasion which placed the Dubai International Baja in the FIA World Cup calendar. He is visualized after obtaining his prize from ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem
2. Candidate event bikes champion Dave McBride goes back to activity in the Dubai International Baja.
3. Erik Van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar imagined on their means to joggers up area in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The will be back in UAE in a Toyota Hilux.