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37th Gulf News Fun Drive: watch all the action from a memorable day of dune bashing

This year, the 37th Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive is taking place in Umm Al Quwain. Around 3,000 people in 800 four-wheel vehicles will be testing their desert driving skills as they take part in one of the longest running off-road events in the UAE.

The annual two-day event is being held at the UAE Motorplex Umm Al Quwain with a warm breakfast, completion of formalities and a safety debriefing by the marshals. Follow our live coverage here. 

(With inputs from Yousara Zaki, Deputy Editor – Guides, Bindu Rai, Deputy Editor – Tabloid, Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter)

10am 

At the moment we are deep in the desert, dune bashing and camel watching. The weather is perfect and spirits are high as people zoom past our car cheering and dancing to their stereos.

While another car is stuck in the distance, the vista is breathtaking.

“It’s fun!” Despite getting stuck in the sand, these participants are cheery and having a great time.

9.30am 

We have arrived at the first checkpoint, Orient Tours, who were handing out great goodie bags.

Photo: Bindu Rai/Gulf News

9.15am

Fun Drive organisers have mapped out the routes in the desert perfectly. After every 200 metres you’ll see little signs pointing you in the right direction, so no one strays off the tracks or gets lost.

Look out for these little signs along the routes. Photo: Yousra Zaki/Gulf News

Marshals help out a participant that got stuck in the sand. Video: Bindu Rai/Gulf News

9am

The journey through the desert continues. We are lucky to have a very clear day without any dust in the air. Visibility is great and skies are blue. Until now we haven’t seen any animals. It’s a peaceful day in the desert.

Video: Yousra Zaki/Gulf News

Near check point No 2. Photo: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

8.30am

Off they go: The first group of vehicles were flagged off from the starting point by Shaikh Marwan Bin Rashid Al Mualla, Chaiman of Emirates Motorplex and Rajeev Khanna, Commercial Director at 8.20am setting in motion the 2018 Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive. 

Video: Yousra Zaki/Gulf News

Heading the first caravan was off road aficionado Shaikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, driving a specially designed armoured jeep followed by souped up Dodge Ram and Ford Super Duty.

“This is really exciting and every year the Fun Drive just gets bigger and better. We are happy to see so many people supporting the event every year, making it a resounding success,” said Rajeev Khanna, ahead of the flag off.

Video: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

8.00am

About 800 cars getting ready for the flag off 

Video: Yousra Zaki/Gulf News

Cars are headed for the flag off. Photo: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

7.45am

Don’t forget to download the app! 

The Fun Drive has a special tracking app, to assist participants along the way.
The app, available on both the Apple and Android app stores, will track participants during their journey through the desert.

Using mobile data connectivity, the app helps marshals keep track of each driver so they know straight away if anyone hits trouble.

7.30am

Real action is about to begin.  Tyres are being deflated and marshals are preparing their four wheel drives for the desert

Even the kids have been put on tyre deflating duty. Photo: Bindu Rai/Gulf News

7.15am

After completing check-in formalities, and having a sumptuous breakfast the participants collected their goodies — including a case of water per car, one goody bag per car and lunch boxes for all passengers in the car. 

7.00am

Fun Drive participants enjoy a delicious breakfast in the desert to the tune of Happy! Food includes croissants, sausages and scrambled eggs.

Breakfast is served. Video: Bindu Rai/Gulf News

Participants enjoying their breakfast. Photo: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

6am

Excitement is already building for the Fun Drive. 

Morning at the Emirates Motorplex. Photo: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Pringles man entertains the crowd. Video: Bindu Rai/Gulf News


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