Ahmed Al Maqoodi, Mark Powell, Mohammed Al Shamsi and Josh Brodalka all tasted victory in their respective Buggy, Car, Quad and Motorcycle events during the third round of the Emirates Desert Championship on Friday 20th January.
Al Maqoodi made it two buggy wins in a row, beating teammate and last season’s champion Ahmed Al Fahim into second place, with Briton Ryan Trutch in third. Trutch of the MX Dubai sponsored team leads the championship after the first three rounds, with Tom Bell of Sabertooth Motorsports and the Polaris UAE Racing Team’s Al Maqoodi in joint second place.
“It was a good day for us, as the team took 1st, 2nd and 4th position, as well as maximum points in the Team Championship”, said Al Maqoodi, who last month won the 2016 Dubai International Rally.
“The season is going well for us so far and we want to continue this momentum through the upcoming international events”.
Elsewhere, Mark Powell, co-driven by multiple Dakar Rally veteran Annie Seel, was victories in the Car category in his FIA T1 Predator Trophy Truck, beating Emirati Khalid Al Jafla in a similar FIA Spec Armada Trophy Truck. Qatari driver Sh. Hamad Al Thani took fourth place to maintain his lead over Al Jafla in the championship.
Emirati rider Mohammed Al Shamsi was a dominant winner in the quad class, with the 2013-14 Champion taking his first victory in the category since the opening round of last season in October 2015. The runner up was Abdulmajeed Al Khulaifi of Saudi Arabia, with Obaid Al Kitbe in third place and extending his lead in the quad championship.
Finally, young South African Josh Brodalka emerged victorious for the Powertec UAE Team following a close fought battle with the Balooshi Racing pair of Kuwaiti Mohammed Jaffar and Emirati Mohammed Al Balooshi, pipping Jaffar to the win by only five seconds, one of the closest margins in Emirates Desert Championship history. Balooshi finished a further 17 seconds back from Jaffar in third place and still holds top spot in the championship standings, but Brodalka is closing on him as a result of his maximum points in the last two rounds.
The event was staged in the Al Faqa’a region of Dubai with the terrain proving to be a big hit with all competitors.
“We have received nothing but positive feedback from our competitors who all enjoyed the fast flowing valleys that make up this part of Dubai. This terrain has been specifically chosen for the car drivers as it allows them to maintain a much higher speed than events held in areas with sorter, choppier dunes”, said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sport federation (EMSF).
“It is also great to see the amount of competitors continuing to come from overseas to take part, and we have successfully position the series as one of the premier desert racing championships in the world, a fact proven by series regular Sam Sunderland, who just won the Dakar Rally”, concluded Ben Sulayem.
The Championship has now entered a busy period, with Round three being the first of three events to be scheduled in a period of just five weeks. Round four is scheduled for Friday 3rd February, with the season concluding at the fifth round two weeks later on Friday 17th February.
The Emirates Desert Championship is the UAE’s national baja rally championship for Cars, Buggies, Motorcycles and Quads and is organized by the ATCUAE and the EMSF.