ATCUAE President Sulayem pays tribute to volunteers as the unsung heroes of dramatic desert rally
Dubai, UAE, 4 February 2015: The UAE has added to its reputation for producing top international motor sport officials with the announcement that a key team of volunteers at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge have been named by the FIA as the best of the season worldwide in 2014.
The FIA award for the best team of officials in motor sport last year has gone to the Desert Challenge Safety/Sweep team who patrol the dramatic rally route each day, either rushing to an emergency to provide medical assistance or picking up competitors with mechanical issues.
It is the fourth year in a row that UAE officials have been recognised by motor sport’s world governing body, after volunteers at the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix earned the best individual marshal award three years in a row.
The latest award success was acclaimed by H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, when he received the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Safety/Sweep Team along with Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE today.
Sheikh Nahayan, who twice paid visits to the Desert Challenge last year and has given considerable personal support and encouragement for UAE motor sport over the years, told them: “I was very impressed with the organisation behind the event, in particular the essential safety and rescue operation, and each of you played a vital part in this.
“The ATCUAE has done an excellent job in recruiting and training volunteers, and we are proud to see our officials receiving the highest recognition year after year.”
Sulayem added: “The Safety/Sweep team are among the many unsung heroes of the Desert Challenge who give up their time each year and put in a huge amount of effort and dedication to ensure the event runs smoothly and safely.
“Every competitor recognises and values the work that done by the Safety/Sweep team, and I’m delighted that they have been acclaimed in this way by the FIA.”
H.E. Ibrahim Abdul Malik Mohammed, Secretary-General of the General Authority for Youth & Sports Welfare, commented: “Sport in the UAE continues to promote a positive image of the Emirates on the international stage, and this award is another achievement to be proud of.”
The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is part of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes. The 25th edition of the event takes place this year from 27 March -2 April.
Heba Abbas Bahaj won the FIA’s best marshal of the season award for 2013 after fellow-Emirati Mohammed Al Shatri and Alan Rooke had been recognised by the FIA in the two previous years.