Sulayem says appointment of A.S.O. for Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Dubai International Baja will reinforce UAE’s standing in motor sport
The Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO) has entered into a partnership agreement with one of the world’s biggest sports event promoters to boost international entries and global media exposure for the UAE’s two world-class cross country rallies.
Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O), which owns, designs and organises top international sporting events and produces hundreds of hours of programmes, has been appointed by the EMSO as official TV production company for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Dubai International Baja.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the EMSO President and FIA Vice President for Sport, sees the new agreement as a significant investment in the future of both events and one which will reinforce the UAE’s standing in world motor sport.
“We will be working closely with A.S.O. to ensure both events enter a new era of development to keep them at the top of international cross country rallying,” said Sulayem, the Desert Challenge founder.
“A.S.O. played a major role in Saudi Arabia’s staging of the Dakar Rally for the first time last month, and in making it an outstanding success, broadcasting coverage in 190 countries with more than one billion viewers across the world.
“Their influence and expertise will help us attract a stronger line-up of world-class competitors and take the events, and the unique attractions of the UAE, to a bigger global TV audience.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary on 20-26 March, the Desert Challenge is the second round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and the opening round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship for bikes.
One of the key roles for A.S.O will be to showcase the natural, cultural and touristic attractions of the Al Dhafrah region whose spectacular desert terrain makes the event stand out.
Fitting into a new slot a week later (2-4 April) for its fourth edition, the Dubai International Baja is the second round of both the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas for cars and the FIM Bajas World Cup for bikes
The Desert Challenge has built a reputation as one of the most demanding and well organised events in the FIA World Cup series. Reading like a Who’s Who of cross country rallying, it’s winners over the years have included top drivers like Stéphane Peterhansel Ari Vatanen and Jean-Louis Schlesser, as well as leading riders such as Marc Coma, Heinz Kinigadner and Sam Sunderland.
The two events benefit from strong support provided by the government authorities in the UAE to put the Emirates on a global stage through motor sport, and this has been a major influence in the EMSO’s appointment of A.S.O.
With 90 events per year in 25 countries, A.S.O. is involved in five major sports including cycling with Le Tour de France, motor sports with the Dakar, sailing with the Tour Voile, mass events with the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris and golf with the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.