Desert sports: Storming the sands to the finish line

Preparations being finalised for Derawar Fort rally on February 17.

Express January 13, 2012


All arrangements to organise the 260-kilometres long annual seventh jeep rally near Derawar Fort will be finalised in an official meeting scheduled to be held in Bahawalpur on January 19.

According to officials in the Tourism Development Corporation Punjab (TDCP), the jeep rally will begin on February 17.

“It will take a week for all the experts to examine the vehicles participating in the rally and declare them fit to participate,” TDCP Multan official Musab Athar said.

Arrangements to hold the mega car sporting event near Derawar Fort, Ahmadpur East, will be finalised in a meeting to be held at the commissioner’s office in Bahawalpur on January 19. “This is a major event and we have cars participating from all over the country. We hope to make it a mega event that continues every year,” he added.

TDCP managing director Saad S Khan, TDCP Multan regional manager Ashar Iqbal, in-charge tour promotion Sheikh Iqbal, TDCP Bahawalpur officials and other department members are scheduled to attend the meeting.

“We also want to hold a dinner with the racers a few days before the event.

Jeep rallies are a relatively new concept in Pakistan but similar events in the recent past have met with immense success so we hope to make it a regular feature,” said Multan regional manager Ashar Iqbal.

After inspection of vehicles on February 17, the qualifying round for the rally will take place on February 18 and numbers would be allotted to the winning vehicles for the mega rally the following day.

These numbers will also indicate the order in which the contesting vehicles will be introduced on the sandy race track.

TDCP will ensure that the number of contestants remains within 80 to 100.  Vehicles have been categorised as A, B, C, and D in accordance with their engine’s strength including 1,000 cc, 1,500-2,000 cc, 2,000-3,000 cc and 3,000 cc plus. Categories have been finalised for both petrol and diesel-run vehicles in this regard.

The race will begin from Derawar Fort and will conclude at the same point after completing a 260-km run. “We expect the event to last most of the day and arrangements are being made for refreshment and entertainment for the spectators,” Saad S Khan said.

“Once the first vehicle joins the track, each of the remaining vehicles will join the race after a three-minute interval. TDCP will set up a tent city near Derawar fort by February 16 where six bath and wash rooms will also be available for the participants,” he added.

The organisers will also arrange a folk music show on the evening of February 18 and singers will continue to perform till the start of the race on February 19.

A food street will be set up, Cholistani Dangal, and camel race would also be held to entertain spectators.

Separate counters have been set up at the TDCP offices for the registration of prospective participants and applications will be entertained from January 15. Applicants can also download application forms from the TDCP web site. APP

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.


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