There is a track in Umm Al Quwain, UAE where all kinds of motorsport from drift to 4×4 finds its home. This year it was the second time that a 24 hours cross-country rally event has been organised at Emirates Motorplex.
The rally started on Thursday evening with the scrutineering, under the supervision of Hungarian expert Imre Krizicsko. Then the vehicles, 27 cars and 4 bikes rested in the parc fermé until 2pm on Friday when the event itself started. There were two tracks, one of 35 km and one of 75 km, the teams had to complete the shorter one four times, the longer two times.
Out of the 27 car and 4 bike crews from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Lybia only 12 cars and 2 bikes were able to finish the event. Some had technical problems, others simply got lost – the navigation in the dunes in the dark wasn’t easy despite the extra lights on the cars.
The organisers, race director Ali Al Shawi and his team put big emphasize on safety, so all the competitors summarized the event as a nice and interesting experience for that no big budget is required. The entry fee is only 1400 dirham (about €220), including fuel and meals for two days! It’s also possible to rent a car for the event at very friendly price. The cars aren’t completely fulfill the requirements of FIA but they are fitted with all necessary safety equipment.
At this year’s event Nissan Patrol was the most popular vehicle with some Jeeps and Toyotas around. This is also reflected by the leaderboard: Ali Matar (UAE) won the rally with a Nissan Patrol in front of Khaif Aljawan (SAU, Jepp Cherokee) and Hibrahim Al Muhanna (SAU, Toyota).