The 2011 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge gets underway, with organisers revealing an upgraded rally route format that includes all 120 entrants taking part in a fan-friendly, opening Super Special Stage (SSS) in the heart of Abu Dhabi city.
Motorsport fans will be able to get right up alongside the stars at this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, one of the world’s toughest sporting events. And this year Middle East rallying legend, Mohammed Ben Sulayem will officially launch the race by arriving at the specifically designed course next to the capital’s Marina Mall in one of his own rally cars.
In an event that is unique to off-road rallying, spectators will not only get amazing views of the action, but will be able to get up-close to the carefully prepared vehicles and meet a truly international line-up of drivers and riders from over 30 countries. Among the stars present will be Leonid Novitskiy from Russia and Marc Coma (Spain), the reigning car and bike world cross-country rally champions respectively, as well as rally hero Stéphane Peterhansel (France) and the awesome KAMAZ-Master truck team (Russia). The crowds will be able to see all of them tussle for urban honours before heading to the Western Region, where the majority of the week-long event’s 1,570 competitive kilometres will be run.
Ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to view this exciting precursor to one of the world’s most spectacular cross-country rallies, the Super Special Stage, which will be held on a specially-made circuit outside Marina Mall, is a free-to-attend event that starts at 3pm. The competitors will launch their quest for success on the starting ramp, which is set against the spectacular backdrop of the city of Abu Dhabi, before embarking on the timed, two-kilometre off-road course between Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club.