Patrol triumphs again in Emirates Desert Championship
Lebanese rally star Emil Kneisser has again piloted his Nissan Patrol to an emphatic victory in the grueling Emirates Desert Championship.
Kneisser leads the T2 category which he again won at the weekend and lies fifth in the overall Championship standings. Ahmad Fahim, last year’s champion, leads the series but Kneisser is one of a chasing pack that continues to threaten.
Mansour Al Helei, who also drives a patrol in the T2 category, is 10th in the overall standings and second to Kneisser in the T2s.
This 2014-15 Baja series was extended from four to six rounds, such has been the interest in the events. Last weekend’s rally, the fourth of the series, was the first to be staged in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain. Baja events are famous around the world and are designed to make racing more accessible for those who have a passion for the desert.
“Baja rallies are as punishing as it gets in motorsport so it was tremendous to claim another victory in the Patrol. It’s dubbed the ‘Hero of All Terrain’ and when you’re battling some of the world’s most demanding terrain you understand why. There’s nothing that the conditions can throw up that a Patrol can’t deal with”, says Kneisser.
“It was also special to be part of the first Baja race in Umm Al Quwain. The last two rallies are certain to be action-packed because there are a variety of equations in which the series can finish.”
Cars, buggies, bikes and quads are all involved in Baja with the Desert Championship the only UAE event to accommodate the four forms.
Samir Cherfan, Managing Director, Nissan Middle East, tips even more impressive results for Kneisser and the Patrol over the last two rounds.
“Last weekend saw another outstanding performance by the Nissan Patrol with star driver Emil Kneisser behind the wheel. The Baja series has now moved to the second half of the series with two events remaining. We’re expecting more success in what has been a showpiece series which is heading for a great climax.”
Organised by the Emirates Motor Sport Federation, the Desert Championship series is run with the support of the Automobile and Touring Club (ATCUAE).
The fourth round of the Emirates Desert Championship was held under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, H.H.Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mua’lla. ATCUAE president Mohammed Ben Sulayem thanked H.H.Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mua’llafor making the event possible in Umm Al Quwain.
Ben Sulayem says: “We are very grateful to H.H.Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mua’lla for all the support we have been given in Umm Al Quwain to make the event possible, and for his personal encouragement.”
He says the series will return to Umm Al Quwain “in the near future”.
“We’re especially happy to see so many Emirati competitors not only taking part but also leading from the front.” He also says that the fact 21 nationalities were represented at the weekend showed how the “championship is uniting the rallying community here.”
The fourth round was another short course event, with the bikes and quads running on one loop and the cars and buggies competing on another at the same time. All had to complete as many laps as fast as possible over a window of approximately two hours.
Each round of the Desert Championship comprises a short course rally whereby quads and bikes compete on one loop while cars and buggies are on another.
“The series has captured the imagination of drivers and riders alike,” says Ben Sulayem.