x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Rain forces Dubai International Rally organisers to adjust route

Following the heavy rain that struck the UAE this past week, organisers of the Dubai International Rally have moved to ensure that any repeat wet weather this weekend will not cause them any problems.

Following the heavy rain that struck the UAE last week, organisers of the Dubai International Rally have moved to ensure that any repeat wet weather this weekend will not cause them any problems.

The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) have altered the route cars were due to run in an attempt to avoid issues if rain does fall on either Friday or Saturday when the cars are on the course.

“The weather forecast is dry for the next few days, but we aren’t taking any chances so we made some dramatic changes to the route to avoid low lying areas which could flood if there was more rain,” said Mohammed ben Sulayem, the ATCUAE president.

“We had a similar situation last year, and heavy rain during the first leg left a lot of surface water in places. That can lead to problems, so we’ve taken action to guard against the threat.”

The move by the ATCUAE was welcomed by Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, who experienced some of the wet conditions during testing last week in his Abu Dhabi Citroen DS3.

“We came across quite a lot of water in the desert when we were testing last weekend and had to change our plans to avoid some areas,” said the Emirati, who is looking to win his home rally for a third time, having previously triumphed it in 2005 and 2006.

“If there is some rain, it can firm up the soft sand and make things a bit easier in places. But if we get big pools of water forming, that’s something different so it was a wise step by the organisers to take the route away from some of the low lying areas, just in case.”

The rally officially gets under way with a ceremonial start at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) at 6.15pm tomorrow before the main rally action unfolds along the desert trails over the next two days.

Six stages are held on the Friday, with a further six on the Saturday, before the finish at the DWTC.

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