Plus Mini issues global recall; Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge entries open; Rolls-Royce has record sales and Facebook rescues 24 Hour Dubai race team.
This week in Motoring: 600hp Bunkbed among wacky wheels up for auction
Mini issues global recall of more than 200,000 cars
Mini has had to issue a worldwide recall of 235,000 cars after a fault that could be a fire risk was discovered in electric water pumps.
Certain Cooper S and John Cooper Works models built between 2006 and 2011 have been affected.
BMW, which owns Mini, said in a statement that the problem has resulted in four cases of fire in vehicles.
Mini owners affected should receive a letter from the company in the next few weeks to ask them to bring their car into their nearest dealership to have the water pump replaced.
"Under high operating temperatures an electro-migration can occur at the circuit board installed in the additional water pump," the statement said.
"This can lead to a failure of the additional water pump or smouldering and even a fire cannot be excluded."
More than 200,000 Minis are built each year at the company's plant in Oxford, England.
BMW said last year that it would build a redesigned Mini at its Cowley factory in Oxford as part of a £500 million (Dh2.8 billion) investment in UK production over the next three years.
600hp Bunkbed among wacky wheels going under the hammer
At Motoring, we've witnessed a few crazy cars over the years but this collection up for auction next month certainly takes the biscuit.
Among the wacky wheels on offer at the Historics auction are the seven-metre-long, six-engined Snake Pit, the Bugaloos Buggy, which was made famous by the 1970s television show of the same name, the original Hans Trippel Amphicar and the barmy 600hp Bunkbed, built by Bob Reisner.
The Bunkbed has a 600hp V8 engine and, in theory, it could be steered from the comfort of the top or bottom bunk, but the car is, in fact, a non-runner that's for show.
Despite that, Historics, which will host the auction at Mercedes-Benz World in England on February 18, is expecting offers of around Dh85,000 for the vehicle.
The Snake Pit boasts no less than six Ford Cobra V8s, giving the car an estimated 2,000hp, as well as 12 Holley four-barrel carburettors, 48 exhausts, two Ford C-6 automatic transmissions and a pair of Pontiac rear axles. Although also a non-runner, it was said to be worth more than Dh367,000 when built.
Visit www.historics.co.uk for more information.
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge entries open
Registration for the 22nd Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge has opened, giving participants an opportunity to explore the vast Western Region while putting their skills to the test.
The event involves cross-country rallies in cars, trucks, motorcycles and quad bikes across Al Gharbia and the Liwa desert.
The challenge will also be the opening round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and round two of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
Last year's car class was won by desert challenge legend Stephane Peterhansel, a multiple winner of the event on both two and four wheels, and the motorcycle class was won by Spaniard Marc Coma.
Alongside them last year, a field of more than 170 competitors from 34 countries battled to finish the 1,500km route. The 2011 event was also broadcast in 20 languages to 121 million homes in 59 countries.
"The desert challenge is an iconic event in the UAE and both officials and competitors will be delighted to go back to Liwa to challenge and experience our beautiful desert once again," says Mohammed bin Sulayem, the founder of the event.
To register, visit www.abudhabidesertchallenge.ae.
Rolls-Royce in record sales year as models grow popular in Asia
British car marque Rolls-Royce has defied the international economic slump by posting global sales figures up 31 per cent on the previous year.
The luxury brand, which is owned by BMW, sold 3,538 cars in 2011 - more than any other year in its 107-year history.
The growth is largely down to its performance in the Asia-Pacific region, where the company experienced growth of 47 per cent.
For the first time since the launch of the Dh1.3 million Phantom in 2003, China became the company's largest market ahead of the US.
In December, it was announced that sales in Abu Dhabi emirate quadrupled compared with the same period the previous year.
"Our business is in excellent shape. We are developing our dealer network, moving into new markets like South America, expanding our manufacturing operation in West Sussex and plan to develop our product range," says chief Torsten Müller-Ötvös.
Facebook comes to the rescue of 24 Hour Dubai race team
Eight-and-a-half hours into the Dunlop 24 Hour Dubai endurance race last week and one participating team had a problem - but it was one that was fixed by using Facebook.
Struggling for answers, the United Autosports team turned to the social networking website for information on their Audi R8 GT3 LMS race car.
They posted this question on Audi Sport's page: "Does anyone know where the location is for the starter relay and main relay on an R8? Is it in the front BSG or fuse box?"
Luckily for the team, Audi quattro GmbH engineer Markus Ferlora noticed the query and responded with the correct answer: "It's right rear [sic] the last two big Relais are for the starter. The first two big Relais are the main Relais for the engine."
Unfortunately for United Autosport, as helpful as the information was, it didn't help them succeed in the race as they didn't even make it into the top 10.