x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Environment rules in effect at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge organisers are warning teams of harsh punishments for failing to comply with enviromental code during the five-day race.

The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE aims to show events like the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge can be environmentally responsible. Courtesy photo
The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE aims to show events like the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge can be environmentally responsible. Courtesy photo

Competitors in next week's Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge who ignore strict regulations to protect the environment could face time penalties and fines, and ultimately be disqualified from the event.

The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), the rally organisers, have warned that they will get tough with any competitors failing to comply with an environmental code being enforced when the event is run through the desert terrain in the Western Region of Al Gharbia.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, president of the ATCUAE and founder of the event, backed the new regulations.

"It's very important to us to take all necessary precautions to protect the desert, and we're certain we can count on the competitors to support us by observing the environmental code," he said.

Punishment will be handed out for competitors who do not take precautions to prevent leaks into the ground of fuel or oil, as well as cleaning, degreasing, cooling and brake fluids. They could also be penalised for leaving behind any used tyres or waste generated during five days of competitive rallying in the Liwa desert, which begins Saturday and runs through April 11.

The measures being taken by the ATCUAE are in line with an international environmental code drawn up by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM).

"We're fully committed to backing the FIM in its effort to show that the sport can be environmentally responsible, and to find new ways to reduce the impact events like the Desert Challenge can have on the land, the local flora and fauna," ben Sulayem said.

As the rally organisers, the ATCUAE is responsible for enforcing regulations, and for providing facilities to collect rally waste throughout the event. It is also responsible for drawing up an environmental management plan to assess the impact of the event.

The event's official itinerary begins with competitor documentation and an official press conference tomorrow, with inspections following the next day, before a special stage on Saturday leading to five days of competitive desert stages.

A total of 160 competitors from 37 countries are set to compete.

They include defending champions Jean-Louis Schlesser of France and Spanish rider Marc Coma, who have each won six titles respectively in the cars and bikes categories.

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