Argentinian driver Ariel Jaton will secure another place in the record books of world rallying when he contests this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Baja at the wheel of a zero-emission electric car.
Jaton made history in the 2017 Dakar Rally when he became the first competitor to complete the gruelling event in a vehicle supplied with only electricity from renewable sources.
Since then the car – known as the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered – has contested off road events in Italy, Morocco and Australia, and in the Abu Dhabi Baja it will become the only fully electric vehicle to have competed in homologated rallies across five continents.
Partnered by Argentinean navigator Eduardo Blanco, Jaton faces another tough test over a demanding route cutting into the spectacular dunes of the Rub Al Khali on Frday and Saturday.
The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, accompanied by British co-driver Chris Patterson in the Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 2008 Dakar, is the overwhelming favourite for victory in the T1 Autos class after winning three of the previous four rounds of the UAE Baja Championship.
Taking place under the patronage of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and organised by the Emirates Motorsport Club (EMC), the innaugural Abu Dhabi Baja will be based at the renowned Moreeb Dune facility with the backing of Liwa Sport Club.
Kuwaiti KTM rider Mohamed Jaffar enters the event needing a victory to boost his hopes of overhauling top Emirati rider Mohammed Balooshi in the race for the UAE Baja Championship Motos 450 crown.
While both have scored one victory each so far, Al Balooshi on a Kawasaki leads UAE-based veteran KTM rider Dave McBride by a single point, with Jaffar another five points adrift.
Dubai-based South African Aaron Mare, winner of the first two rounds, is just four points further away on his Honda and the title race is still wide open.
The Abu Dhabi Baja offers prize money in all categories – T1, T2, Group S and UTV auto classes, as well as Motos 450, 250 and quad categories.
From the rally base at Moreeb Dune, competitors head out into the Rub Al Khali for two special stages amounting to 250km of competitive off road rallying in a route totalling 280km in length, including liaisons.
Documentation and scrutineering takes place on Friday between 7-10am. The first special stage gets underway at 11am, with stage two starting at 8am the following day and the event concluding with prize giving at 4pm. Caption: Argentinian driver Ariel Jaton and navigator Eduardo Blanco will secure another place in the record books in the Abu Dhabi Baja in the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered.