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 Wife Andrea will co-drive in French star’s new victory bid; Sunderland leads chase for bikes title

Stéphane Peterhansel, the most successful competitor in the history of cross country rallying, will take his place in a star-studded line-up for the 29th edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan.

Driving an X-raid Mini John Cooper Works buggy the Frenchman, who has won the event five times as a driver and once as a rider, will be partnered by his wife, Andrea (née Andrea Mayer), who has previously finished the rally on two and four wheels and returns as a navigator for the first time.

They are among 119 competitors from 34 countries in the official entry list issued today by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), the rally organisers, who are now busily preparing for the start on Saturday (30 March) at Yas Marina Circuit, the event’s official HQ.

From there the next morning 80 cars, buggies, bikes and quads will set off for five spectacular desert stages across the giant dunes and sabka plains of the Al Dafrah Region.

Peterhansel, who won the Desert Challenge bikes title in 1996 and secured the last of his five cars victories in 2011, is among 39 drivers contesting the second round of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies. The line-up includes 16 T1 prototype vehicles.

Heading the seedings list are the top two from this year’s FIA World Cup standings after the first round in Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Alrajhi in a Toyota Hillux Overdrive and Russia’s 2014 and 2015 Desert Challenge winner Vladimir Vasilyev in a BMW X3.

Czech defending champion Martin Prokop is back at the wheel of a Ford Raptor RS, Poland’s Jakub Przygonski returns to action in the Mini John Cooper Works Buggy which took him to a second victory in a row in the recent Dubai International Baja while the UAE’s Khalid Al Qassimi chases his second Desert Challenge triumph in his Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 3008 DKR.

Frenchman Cyril Despres, a five-times Desert Challenge bikes winner, drives another X-raid Mini John Cooper Works buggy while Yasir Seaidan in a Nissan Navara is one of five Saudis entered.
Another Saudi, Khaled Al Feraihi at the wheel of a Nissan Patrol Pick Up, will be aiming to succeed fellow-countryman Ahmed Al Shegawi as winner of the T2 production cars category.

Starting his 29th consecutive Desert Challenge in a Nissan Pick Up is Yahya Al Helei, one of five drivers carrying the UAE flag. Spain’s Jose-Luis Pena Campo returns to UAE action in a Polaris looking to retain his buggies title.

Sam Sunderland, the 2017 Desert Challenge bikes champion, is the top seed among 41 riders for the opening round of this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

His biggest challengers this time include last year’s third-placed Argentinian Kevin Benavides and his Honda team-mates Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and Chile’s Jose Cornejo, as well as KTM’s Argentinian rider Luciano Benavides and American Husqvarna rider Andrew Short.

Taking place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region, the Desert Challenge is supported Abu Dhabi Aviation, Abu Dhabi Police, ADNOC, Al Ain Water, Al Dhafra Region Ruler’s Representative Court, National Ambulance, Nissan, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and Yas Marina Circuit. The Nissan Patrol is the official car for the event.

The most celebrated competitor in Dakar Rally history, with six bikes triumphs between 1991-1998 and seven cars victories from 2004-2017, Peterhansel first competed with his wife beside him in the 2016 Italian Baja – while on honeymoon.

Like her husband, Andrea progressed from bikes to cars in cross country rallying, finishing sixth in the 2001 Desert Challenge on a KTM and fifth in a Mitsubishi Pajero in 2013, a year before securing a top ten Dakar finish.

“Stéphane and Andrea are great friends of the Desert Challenge and we’re very happy to welcome them back,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA Vice President for Sport.

“They’re both fantastic competitors and it will be interesting to see how they complete as a team against some of the best driver / co-driver partnerships in the world.”

Following the 7.30pm ceremonial start at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday, the powerful assembly of rally cars, buggies, bikes and quads heads out from Abu Dhabi for the first of five demanding desert stages in the Al Dafrah Region.

For five nights the 800-strong contingent of competitors, technicians, officials, medical staff, volunteers and media will be encamped at a purpose-built bivouac close to the Qasr Al-Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. The event finishes at 5pm on Thursday 4 April back at Yas Marina Circuit which hosts the official prize giving the same evening.

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan, rally itinerary:

30 March:        Ceremonial start at Yas Marina Circuit – 7.30pm

31 March:        Yas Marina Circuit Stage 1 (261.97km) – starting 9am

1 April:            Al Ain Water Stage 2 (222.80km) – starting 6.00am

2 April:            Nissan Stage 3 (297.97km) – starting 6.15am

3 April:            ADNOC Stage 4 (286.10km) – starting 6.00am

4 April:            Abu Dhabi Aviation Stage 5 (214.47km) – starting 6.25am

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ATCUAE research, Al Ain Water stations help competitors fight off threat of dehydration

When Sam Sunderland sets off in pursuit of a second bikes crown in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Powered by Nissan, the British rider faces a number of battles over five days in the deserts of the UAE.

Taking place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region, the Desert Challenge is also supported Abu Dhabi Aviation, Abu Dhabi Police, ADNOC, Al Dhafra Region Ruler’s Representative Court, National Ambulance, Nissan, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces and Yas Marina Circuit. The Nissan Patrol is the official car for the event.

Sunderland, winner in 2017 shortly after capturing the Dakar Rally title, will be up against the cream of cross country rallying talent in a line-up of 41 riders for the opening round of this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

None of them know the demanding terrain better than the KTM star for whom Dubai became his adopted home 10 years ago, and when the rally breaks out in to the Al Dafrah Region on Sunday morning, no-one will be better prepared for the gruelling test ahead.

For bike and quad riders, particularly the amateurs sharing the stage with the world’s best, the threat of dehydration is ever present in the desert heat, with many facing the exhausting task of digging themselves free from the soft sand traps along the five-day route from 31 March.

“All of our races are in extreme environments and it’s necessary to take care about your fluid and electrolytes, but I think most of the top riders have this under control,” said Sunderland, speaking from the KTM training camp in Morocco.

“It’s normally new riders that aren’t used to the heat or exertion for long periods of time that come unstuck. I’m in very good shape, which is important at the start of a new season, of course once you have won the race once it has to be your goal to do it again and that’s what I will be aiming for. We will just have to see how the strategy plays out without a prologue.”

Research carried out by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers, in conjunction with Al Ain Water has spotlighted the risks, and effects of dehydration.

“It’s a very serious threat to both competitors and volunteers working in high temperatures,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA Vice President for Sport. “Dehydration affects physical and mental performance, and even at low levels can have severe physiological effects. Side effects include poor concentration, co-ordination and reaction time and that can lead to accidents. So keeping competitors and volunteers hydrated is a major priority.”

With Al Ain Water stations set up along the five-day rally route, competitors, officials, and the volunteer marshals working out in the desert for hours on end never run short.

“This has been our mission for the past 14 years as the official supplier of Al Ain Water,” said Eng. Tariq Ahmed Al Wahedi, CEO, Agthia Group PJSC. “We’re proud of our record in making sure that everyone involved in the rally is properly hydrated throughout the five days.”

Runner up last year, Sunderland faces top opposition this time from a succession of factory team stars, including the rider who finished just behind him Argentinian Kevin Benavides and his Honda team-mates Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and Chile’s Jose Cornejo, as well as KTM’s Argentinian rider Luciano Benavides and American Husqvarna contender Andrew Short.

“I always tried to ride in the dunes the months before Abu Dhabi and it’s a very specific terrain and requires a different set up and riding technique than the other rallies,” said Sunderland. “We have just finished here in Morocco testing and training for Abu Dhabi.”

The Desert Challenge rider line-up has a family flavour, with the Dubai-based Irish father and son combination of David and William McBride trying to outdo each other again after William finished ahead in the recent Dubai International Baja.

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Missing out on drink specials? Create your own ‘Happy Hour’ at Buhayra Lounge in Palace Downtown

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Nestled in Palace Downtown, Buhayra Lounge truly captures the essence of Arabia with its vibrant contemporary ambience and new menu of Mediterranean delights complete with hand-crafted beverages.

Unwind with family and friends, take in the spectacular views of The Dubai Fountain and iconic Burj Khalifa as you explore the exciting menu of Buhayra Lounge curated by Executive Chef Avinash Mohan.

Buhayra lounge’s unique waterfront location on the Burj Lake, elegant cabanas amidst beautiful Palace Gardens, subdued lighting and lively music by the resident DJ sets the tone for an ultimate chic dining experience. The laidback vibe is further complemented with a range of flavourful hubbly bubbly.

Pick your Happy Hour at Buhayra Lounge

Why be bound by fixed hours, when you can set your own? At Buhayra Lounge, it’s Happy Hour when you say it is! Select any two hours of your liking to enjoy our special Happy Hour deal. Sip on free-flowing beverages and savour a selection of unlimited canapés at your leisure. Sundowners can unwind and watch the city light up and shimmer with Buhayra Lounge’s perfectly blended beverages. The menu includes premium sparkling, homemade sangrias, and an array of refreshing drinks bursting with tropical fruits including lychees and berries.

Date: Daily, except Friday

Time: Any two hours between 12pm to 2am

Price: AED 199 per person

Post-brunch revelries at Buhayra Lounge

Keep the brunch festivities going at Buhayra Lounge with two hours of unlimited house beverages and canapés under the shade of a palm tree or take a moment to relax inside a traditional Arabian tent. The vibrant open-air poolside setting and exceptional culinary menu of Buhayra lounge is perfect to cap off your day with golden sunsets and mesmerising spectacle of The Dubai Fountain.

Date: Every Friday

Time: 4pm to 6pm

Price: AED 149 per person

For reservations, please call +971 4 8883444; email or visit

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PCB shocked by Christchurch terror attacks

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The Pakistan Cricket Board has expressed shock and grief over the terrorist attacks on Christchurch mosques ahead of the Friday prayers.

In a statement, PCB Chairman Mr Ehsan Mani said: “On behalf of the Pakistan cricket fraternity, I would like to condemn in the strongest possible way the cowardly, uncivilised and inhuman terrorist attacks on the innocent worshippers in Christchurch mosques.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy who will feel and understand their pain and loss better than us. In these difficult times, we also stand firmly with our colleagues in New Zealand Cricket and offer our deepest condolences.

“We are aware that the Bangladesh men’s cricket team were also praying at a mosque near the Hagley Park. We thank God Almighty that all of them escaped unhurt.

“As a mark of respect for the victims and to show support and solidarity with the New Zealand community and the NZC, it has been decided that we will observe a minute’s silence before the start of tonight’s HBL Pakistan Super League match, while all the players and match officials will wear black armbands.”

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Karachi aim Quetta scalp for play-off hunt in HBL PSL

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  • “It’s a great opportunity and sense of security that Shane Watson is also there,” says Moin Khan
  • “It’s a beautiful venue and its inspiring,” says Colin Ingram

Karachi Kings seek a much needed win against table-toppers Quetta Gladiators on Sunday to boost their chances of reaching the play-off stages of the HBL PSL.

The Imad Wasim led Karachi outfit is aiming to play the 17 March final on their home ground and before their home fans — a chance they spurned last year after going down in the eliminator to Islamabad United, who went on to win their second title.

Karachi can go on to finish as one of the top two teams, if they also beat Peshawar Zalmi (Monday) and overhaul their net run-rate.

Karachi would be hoping that their star import Colin Munro, regarded as one of the most destructive hitters in Twenty20 cricket regains his touch in the big game. Munro has so far contributed just 33 runs at 6.60 with a highest of 15. Besides Munro, world’s top batsman in T20Is Babar Azam also needs to return to his best. Babar scored two fifties earlier in the ongoing season but has managed just 11 and 19 in the last two matches.

Karachi has historically struggled against both Quetta and Peshawar — their opponents in the next two matches — having lost five games in seven with just two wins against Sarfraz Ahmed’s Gladiators. They however turned the tables against Quetta in this year’s event on the back of a brilliant 127 not out by Colin Ingram during their successful chase of a stiff 187-run target in Sharjah.

Karachi have eight points from eight games and are currently placed fourth in the table. Quetta are perched at the top with 14 points in nine games and are assured of a two top finish.

Quetta are also boosted by the presence of former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson who agreed to tour Karachi after turning down the tour in the last two years. He currently leads the run scoring chart of the event with 332 including three fifties and a phenomenal strike rate of 141.27.

Quetta’s coach Moin Khan admitted Watson’s arrival is a big boost.

“Naturally the top players have an importance and that gives us an additional boost,” said Moin, a member of Pakistan’s World Cup winning team in 1992.

“Naturally it’s good for the team and for every individual it’s a great opportunity and sense of security that Shane Watson is also there. But at the same time it’s a team game and it doesn’t depend on individuals.”

Besides Watson, Rilee Rossouw (235 in nine games), Umar Akmal (228) and opener Ahmed Shehzad (153) are also in good nick.

Quetta’s bowling, led by the ever-green Sohail Tanvir is one of the best. Tanvir is second on the table with 14 wickets, four short of leader Peshawar’s Hasan Ali.  Spinners Mohammad Nawaz (ten) and Fawad Ahmed (nine) give the attack more variety.

Quetta’s rookie fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain will have his tail up on Sunday after he was selected in the Pakistan team for the five one-day internationals against Australia. That inclusion could add to the venom he has already shown with his 150kph thunderbolts.

Karachi’s batting is led by England’s Liam Livingstone who has 280 runs with three 50s and at a strike rate of 134.61. Ingram has so far scored 226 at a strike rate of 154.79.

Ingram, vice-captain of Kings, hoped this year could be team’s chance to play the last stages before the home fans.

“It was disappointing to lose and not being able to qualify for the second qualifier last year,” said Ingram.

“Coming into the back end of the tournament it would be great to repeat that same innings I played (against Quetta) ,” said Ingram of his hundred. “It’s a beautiful venue and its inspiring.”

Karachi will also hope that their pace attack of Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Sohail Khan and Aaron Summers get them wickets. Shinwari returned to his best in the last match, claiming four wickets.

Monday will see Lahore meeting Multan Sultans while Karachi will face Peshawar. The first qualifier (one vs two) will be played on Wednesday followed by the eliminator (3 vs 4) on Thursday. The second qualifier (loser of first qualifier vs winner of eliminator) will be played on Friday.

The final will be played on Sunday.

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Destructive Delport, fantastic Faheem guide Islamabad to play-offs in HBL PSL

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South African Cameron Delport hammered the fastest century in the history of HBL PSL off just 49 balls and Faheem Ashraf grabbed six wickets to steer Islamabad United to the play-offs during their 49-run rout of Lahore Qalandars in Karachi on Saturday.

The return of HBL PSL to Karachi could not have been more rousing as Islamabad batsmen made the homecoming of the 2019 edition truly memorable.

Delport smashed an unbeaten 60-ball 117 to propel Islamabad to 238-3 — highest total in all HBL PSL —  in 20 overs at a near-packed 32,000 capacity National Stadium.

Pacer Faheem Ashraf then chipped in with 6-19 — the second best figures in all HBL PSL behind Karachi’s Ravi Bopara (6-16 vs Lahore at Sharjah in 2016) —  as Lahore were restricted to 189-9 in 20 overs.

Besides the fastest hundred performance, there were a plethora of records that were broken. Islamabad’s total is now the highest in all HBL PSL, ironically beating Lahore’s own 204 they made against Multan Sultans at Sharjah this year.

Islamabad hit a total of 16 sixes — the most in an HBL PSL teams innings — as Asif also joined the party equaling Kamran Akmal’s record of fastest to 50-run mark ( 17 balls), during his 21-ball 55 not out.

It was a hero-to-zero situation for Lahore fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi who conceded 62 runs in his four overs after dismissing Luke Ronchi off the first ball of the match.

The win — Islamabad’s fifth in ten games — gave them third place while the defeat leaves Lahore in a difficult situation as they need to beat Multan Sultans by a big margin on Sunday and hope Karachi Kings lose both their remaining round matches.

Lahore have six points from nine games while Karachi have eight points from eight. Quetta Gladiators are on top of the table with 14 points from nine matches. Peshawar Zalmi are second with 12 points in nine while Multan Sultans are out of play-off contention, with just four points in nine matches.

Lahore also tried to match Islamabad’s run riot but apart from Sohail Akhtar (34-ball 75 with five sixes and eight fours) and  Fakhar Zaman (20-ball 38 with three sixes and four boundaries) the innings fell apart.

Sohail added 54 for the fifth-wicket with David Wiese (12) but Faheem struck at regular intervals, with wickets of Zaman, Anton Devcich (18), Haris Sohail (nought), Sohail, Salman Agha (three) and Shaheen Afridi (one) to end Lahore’s fight.

Delport said he was happy to contribute in the win.

“I struggled a bit in earlier matches so it was nice to score in the much needed win,” said Delport. “I tried to play straight and it paid off. It was my first time in Karachi and the atmosphere was electrifying.”

Islamabad skipper Mohammad Sami credited batsmen for the win.

“We lost Ronchi off the first ball but then Delport and Asif batted superbly and the total was great,” said Sami. “Faheem bowled so well and got us the win.”

Lahore captain Fakhar was disappointed in the loss.

“Credit to Islamabad batsmen who put up a challenging total and we used all our plans in bowling but nothing came off today,” said Fakhar.

It was Delport all the way when Islamabad batted after being sent into bat.

Delport steadied the innings after the shock of Ronchi’s dismissal as he added 32 for the second-wicket with Phil Salt (10) and a had a brilliant alliance of 128 with Chadwick Walton who made 30-ball 48 with four sixes and two boundaries. The real impetus came during Delport’s fourth-wicket stand of 88 with Asif that came off just 37 balls.

Delport reached his fifty — second this season — off just 23 balls, lifting Islamabad to 100 in just 9.5 overs.

Delport reached his 100 with a six off Sandeep Lamichanne, fifth of the HBL PSL history.  Peshawar’s Kamran Akmal ( 2017 and 2018) has two hundreds while Islamabad’s Sharjeel Khan (2016) and Karachi’s Colin Ingram (2019) previously reached three figures.

Sharjeel and Ingram reached their hundreds off 50 balls.

Islamabad, who knocked 135 in the last ten overs, were super charged in the last five overs which yielded a whopping 80 runs. Lamichanne was hit for four sixes in the 16th over (three by Delport and one by Asif) while Shaheen’s 16th over had one six and a boundary.

In all eight sixes and as many boundaries were hit in the last five overs, leaving a hapless Lahore attack into submission.

Table toppers Quetta Gladiators will face Karachi Kings in the only match on Sunday.

Islamabad United beat Lahore Qalandars by 49 runs in HBL PSL

Brief Scores:

Islamabad United 238-3 in 20 overs (C. Delport 117 not out, Asif Ali 55 not out)

Lahore Qalandars 189-9 in 20 overs (Sohail Akhtar 75; Faheem Ashraf 6-19)

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Shahid Afridi salutes foreign players for coming to HBL PSL

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Shahid Afridi, former Pakistan skipper and one of the most popular cricketers around the world for his boom boom hitting, has saluted the foreign players for featuring in the Pakistan-leg matches of the HBL Pakistan Super League, saying they will always be credited for helping the PCB to revive international cricket in the country.

The 39-year-old, who played all his early cricket in Karachi and rose to international fame, represented Multan Sultans in the HBL PSL 2019 and will be in action against Lahore Qalandars on Monday.

Afridi said all 41 foreign stars, as well as those before them who have come to Pakistan in the last three years, are real stars.

“Whenever international cricket will be fully revived in Pakistan, the credit will go to these foreign players who have come to our country,” Afridi told

“We salute them for touring Pakistan and appreciate their contribution.”

Afridi hoped more and more international cricket will come to Pakistan.

“These PSL matches and the few series we have hosted since 2015, have proved that Pakistan is a safe country, the people here are peace-loving people and they want to watch cricket on their grounds.

“I am sure with security improving and these foreign players coming to Pakistan will send a very positive message to the world and I hope more teams will come to Pakistan and our isolation will soon be over.”

Afridi said arrangements for the matches in Karachi are outstanding.

“Karachi is a vibrant, welcoming and a memorable city, and the response of these PSL matches is very good,” said Afridi of the matches that started from Saturday. 

“There was a big crowd, good number of people came and the organisation of the event was very good. People want to watch these matches and foreign players have responded well. I hope this will continue till the final.”

The final will be held on 17 March.

Afridi praised security personnel for putting up excellent arrangements.

“The security arrangements are outstanding and I salute all those involved in providing high profile security and hope that all the foreign players will feel at home,” said Afridi.

“My message to the fans is to enjoy the game and come in big numbers. Pakistan cricket is on the up and I am sure our cricket will continue to rise.”

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One of world rallying’s big success stories was built on Abu Dhabi government support – Sulayem

One of the big success stories of international rallying launches its 29th chapter later this month when the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan takes place under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dafrah Region.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who jotted down his original plan for the event on a scrap of paper back in 1991, was already thinking in World Cup terms at the time, although he could not have seen how the his original idea would develop over three decades.

“So much has changed in motor sport worldwide since then, and I had no idea at the beginning that the Desert Challenge would still be going strong today,” said Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers, and FIA Vice President for Sport.

“Without the support of the UAE authorities this would never have been possible, and we’re especially grateful to HH Sheikh Hamdan for his encouragement and assistance, and for the overall backing we receive from the UAE Armed Forces and the Abu Dhabi government.”

Taking place from 30 March to 4 April, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge powered by Nissan forms the second round of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies for cars and buggies and the opening round of this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

The event is supported by Al Dafrah Region Municipality, Abu Dhabi Municipality, the UAE Army, Abu Dhabi Police, Nissan Middle East, Yas Marina Circuit, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Aviation, Al-Ain Water, Tadweer, Yas Island and the Qasr Al-Sarab Resort.

One of the rally’s endearing characteristics is that, year after year, it sees competitors, officials, media and other cross country rally enthusiasts returning to Abu Dhabi for an event widely regarded as the most spectacular and ultimately rewarding on the World Cup calendar.

Again this year, the international line-up of drivers and riders from across the Middle East and overseas will be taking on a breath-taking passage through the giant dunes and salt flats of the mesmerising Al Dafrah Region.

For most of the private entries who share the stage with the world’s best, merely to finish the event is a major achievement, bearing in mind the five days of demanding desert stages which have to be negotiated.

Victory is always particularly sweet, and last year’s cars winner, Czech Martin Prokop, joined a roll of honour featuring many of cross country rallying’s most successful stars, including Ari Vatanen, Stephane Peterhansel, Jean-Louis Schlesser Luc Alphand and Nasser Al Attiyah.

It’s a similar story in the bikes category where, 12 months ago, Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla annexed an illustrious list of winners featuring Mark Coma, Cyril Despres, Heinz Kinigadner, Toby Price and Dubai-based Sam Sunderland.

The Desert Challenge will be based at Yas Marina Circuit, and competitors start arriving at the Rally HQ on Thursday 28 March for official documentation and scrutineering of all vehicles.

The racing action will begin with a ceremonial start on the Grand Prix circuit and will see the cars, buggies, bikes and quads flagged off at 7.30pm on 30 March before heading out into the Al Dafrah Region.

For five nights, the 800-strong contingent of rally competitors, technicians, officials, medical staff,volunteers and media will be encamped at a purpose-built bivouac, before the event finishes back at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday afternoon 4 April.

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Dubai Cares announces two Education in Emergencies programs in Iraq and Indonesia at DIHAD

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  • AED 10.9 million program in Iraq supports the nationwide rehabilitation of education services and targets 27,035 children, young people and teachers
  • Post-earthquake and tsunami program in Indonesia facilitates the resumption of education for 13,000 children and young people

Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, revealed today plans to scale-up its program in Iraq in an effort to support the rehabilitation of education services in Mosul and Baghdad following the large-scale displacement crisis that hit the country. The new AED 10,900,960 (USD 2,967,459) program will be implemented in partnership with War Child UK and builds on the work carried out with a previous grant of AED 1,836,750 (USD 500,000) in 2017. Dubai Cares also announced the kick off of the implementation phase of its Education in Emergencies (EiE) program in Indonesia which aims to restore schooling in areas affected by the destructive Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in September 2018. The AED 3,673,500 (USD 1 million) program in Indonesia will be implemented in partnership with Save the Children. Both announcements were made during the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference & Exhibition (DIHAD) 2019, which is being held between 12 and 14 March 2019 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares, said: “The crises in Iraq and Indonesia have placed severe burdens on both governments and stretched already thin resources. These two new programs express our commitment to addressing education in emergencies by re-establishing access to education and providing quality education to conflict-affected children and young people within safe and inclusive spaces. We are confident that the direct and indirect impact of these interventions on students, their families, teachers and the community at large will provide a sense of normalcy, stability and hope for the future.”

The two-year new program in Iraq titled, “Recovery and Resilience in Education in Iraq”, aims to impact the lives of 27,035 beneficiaries, including 14,400 students who will benefit from a refurbished learning environment and 1,400 children who will benefit from improved early childhood care and development services. The program will also provide 9,620 children and young people with informal education, psychosocial support and build safe and inclusive environments for them.

Dan Collison, Programs Director for War Child UK, said: “Following on the success of our 2018 program which supports the rehabilitation of schools and education in Mosul, War Child is delighted to continue its partnership with Dubai Cares through this ambitious and generous new grant that supports our work in Iraq. Over the next two years, we will be working with our partners to deliver a comprehensive program of social support to long-term displaced and newly returned children and communities, including a focus on psychosocial care, community based protection, school rehabilitation and teacher training. The scale and duration of the grant will help us to make a transformative impact on the lives of children affected by conflict in Iraq, and we are proud to be working with Dubai Cares to achieve this.”

In Indonesia, Dubai Cares’ program titled, “Education Response for Children Affected by Indonesia’s Sulawesi Earthquake and Tsunami” is part of the collaborative response to bring the affected children back into schools to continue their education following the 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tremendous tsunami that hit the country in September 2018. The program is set to benefit approximately 13,000 members of the communities including children, young people and teachers, through the repair and refurbishment of 6 schools and learning centers, establishing 70 Temporary Learning Structures (TLS), and training 285 teachers to address children’s psychological and emotional needs.

The governments of Iraq and Indonesia have made significant investments to shore up their education infrastructures and sustain school enrolment, especially in times of extreme hardship. However, in the face of large-scale population displacement and armed conflict, 3.2 million school-aged children in Iraq are attending school irregularly or not at all and only 50 percent of displaced children receive a formal education. Likewise, roughly 150,000 children in Indonesia are believed to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance due to the lack of access to quality education in the wake of last year’s debilitating disasters. Nearly 600,000 children were affected by the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami and more than 2,700 schools are believed to have been damaged.

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Retrofit projects form part of ongoing efforts to nurture environmental sustainability across Dubai’s hotel properties

Further driving environmental awareness amongst industry stakeholders, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) underlines ways in which the adoption of efficient resource management practices can lead to substantial annual savings for hotel properties. The process of ‘retrofitting’ has become a key focus for the city’s tourism sector and represents Dubai Tourism’s ongoing commitment to working closely with its industry partners as part of its Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative. Building on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to transform Dubai into a leading sustainable city, DST underscores the importance of joint collaborations between developers and energy service companies (ESCOs) to reduce carbon emissions by 16 per cent by 2021 in line with the Carbon Abatement Strategy.

The process of retrofitting calls for the upgrade of a building’s existing systems and technologies, transforming them into smart, energy-efficient infrastructures that can seamlessly improve their operations and help to save costs on an annual basis. A retrofitting programme is implemented following technical and financial audits of current conservation measures, enabling building owners and operators to identify key sustainable procurement practices that can reduce excess energy outputs across the property.

Commenting on the importance of encouraging retrofitting practices, Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director – Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai Tourism, said: “Working in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to spearhead Dubai’s transformation into one of the most sustainable cities globally, we aim to encourage wide-spread adoption of energy efficient practices including the implementation of retrofitting programmes across the breadth of Dubai’s hotel portfolio. Our ongoing partnerships with energy saving companies are aimed at boosting environmental sustainability across the industry, to harness the collective power of our hospitality stakeholders and assist them in their commitment to efficient practices throughout their properties. This allows for the development of high-performance buildings that are less costly to operate, will increase in value over time and are able to contribute to a more sustainable sector.”

Energy Management Consultants and companies across Dubai’s public and private sector provide retrofitting models that are supported by mutually beneficial partnerships – including investment opportunities that offer energy performance contracts based on shared or guaranteed savings. In the shared savings approach, the ESCOs secure credit to finance the energy efficiency measures, with the guaranteed savings approach calling on the hotel to invest in its own equipment while the ESCO takes a risk on the performance.

Leading by example, the Wyndham Dubai Marina property recently underwent an extensive retrofitting programme to maximise efficiency and increase its energy saving potential, seeing immediate results and pledging its aim to continue its conservation efforts. As an additional resource to optimise efficiency, DST encourages hotels to enroll their properties for the Carbon Calculator tool, created to enable measurement of the CO2 emission baseline of the hospitality industry in Dubai and identify the gaps in order to provide the right support.

The DST initiative, which is managed by the Tourism Development & Investments Division at Dubai Tourism, aims to position Dubai as one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations in collaboration with the following partners: Etihad ESCO, Dubai Carbon, Emirates Environmental Group, Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF and Emirates Green Building Council, as well as the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DEWA and Dubai Municipality as strategic partners.

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Nabil Foods Collaborates with Universal Studio

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Market leader in the frozen foods industry , Nabil Foods collaborates with the Universal Studios as a part of the new rebranding scheme.

The partnership was unveiled in Gulf Food that took place on 17th to 21st of February 2019 at the Dubai World Trade Center. The fun and playful characters Minions are a welcome addition to the branding of Nabil Foods’ newest product range and marketing activities.

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