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Sun, Sand Dunes and 5-star Luxury on Leg 3 of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Unique double stage based around stunning Qasr Al Sarab resort

ABU DHABI (UAE). Tuesday, April 3, 2012: One of the most beautifully-located hotels in the world is the scene for a unique day of racing on day three (Wednesday, April 4) of the competitive sections of the 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Covering a total of 420km of testing desert terrain, the Qasr Al Sarableg is one of the toughest of the whole race.

In a move unique to the Desert Challenge, the luxurious Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is the focal point for two separate stages on Leg 3, as it hosts both the finish of stage three and the start of stage four. From 09.40am, competitors will be flagged off at the start of stage four from the imposing entrance to the hotel, making it the perfect location for spectators to come and take in the atmosphere of one of the world’s most prestigious rallies.

Stage three, involves a gruelling 230km battle through the spectacular, red dunes of the Liwa Desert, including the iconic Tal Moreeb – the UAE’s largest dune. This two-and-half hour pass begins at 7:00am, just off the edge of the E65 road at Tharwaniyah, before finishing next to the five-star, host hotel.

Reinforcing the extreme nature of a rally that is globally recognised to be one of the very toughest on the planet, drivers and riders will then have just over an hour to regroup and refuel, before they make their way to the starting point of stage four - Qasr Al Sarab’s Arabian fort-inspired entrance.

From there, the world class field of racers will resume their battle against the intense heat and demanding terrain of the Western Region, not forgetting each other, as they tackle a 190km voyage that takes in the Ramlat Ar Rabbad desert before ending back at the event’s bivouac desert base.

“This partnership with the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara dovetails perfectly with the Western Region’s strategy to develop tourism in the region,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, founder of the Desert Challenge and President of rally organisers the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE. “The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is a key driver in this respect, with hundreds of racers, support crew and officials descending on the area for this globally important cross-country rally, and millions of viewers worldwide experiencing it on TV.”

The Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is a luxury five-star resort lying deep in the Western Region of Al Gharbia.  Located in the legendary Liwa Desert, visitors to the resortcan enjoy unparalleled luxury and comfort, with private plunge pools, first-class leisure facilities and the finest dining around.

Over five exhausting days that will push them to their physical and mental limits, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge competitors will tackle some of the toughest terrain on the planet – the massive sand dunes of the Empty Quarter desert of the Western Region. The successful participants will cross the finishing line in Abu Dhabi on Friday, 6th April.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is organised by the ATC UAE and is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and features a high-profile line-up of supporters, including the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, Nissan and ADNOC.