Foman Ultimate Lithuanians Represents Lithuania in Desert Rally
A team of Lithuanian businessmen and motorsport professionals, Foman Ultimate Lithuanians, has made its debut in the second stage of the FIA Cross Country World Rally Cup in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (in the United Arab Emirates).
This debut is significant as it marks the beginning of Lithuania’s active participation in desert rallies. According to the team’s founders, the combination of the initiative of private businessmen and the expertise of the professional racers gives the Lithuanians a real chance of making it into the world’s top five rally teams in the next five years.
“We have ambitions to become one of the best teams and to earn international recognition for Lithuania in this new venture within five years,” says the head of UAB Valentis, Vaidotas Deveikis, one of the founders of Foman Ultimate Lithuanians.
According to the captain of Foman Ultimate Lithuanians, Antanas Juknevičius, the second stage of the FIA Cross Country World Rally Cup, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, is one of the most complicated and most impressive in the world of desert rallying.
“The race in Abu Dhabi is both captivating and complicated; therefore, the points collected during the race are given a value of 1.5 times the standard points value. This round of the championship is particularly unusual since around 95 per cent of the track is through sand and extreme dunes. The race also requires endurance to fight the exhausting heat - daytime temperatures in the shade can reach 45° C“, one of the Lithuanian drivers explains.
The Lithuanian sportsmen are competing in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge with a British-built 2005 Bowler Wildcat 200 car, made specifically for the race and famous for its reliability, with a 2.0 litre V6 petrol engine. Participation in this round of the championship has cost the Lithuanian team more than 300,000 Litas.
More than 120 sportsmen from 20 countries participated in this round. They included some of the world’s greatest rally drivers, including the world champion Leonidas Novickis, the BMW team driver representing Russia; the winner of last year‘s Desert Challenge and of multiple Dakar rallies, Stephane Peterhansel, also driving a BMW; and KTM Dakar winner, the Spaniard Marc Coma, driving for KAMAZ.
The Foman Ultimate Lithuanians crew includes all-round Lithuanian Land Rover champion, A. Juknevičius, who has competed in the Dakar Rally four times and has vast experience in desert rallies, and co-driver Vytautas Bučiūnas, a true lover of rallysport who has participated in the Horn Grand Prix several times. A squad of mechanics led by Darius Biesiavičius, who has co-ordinated the technical maintenance of Lithuanian teams in the Dakar Rally and other international races, is a key component of the team. One of Lithuania‘s best sports photographers, Tomas Tumalovičius, has also joined the team.
The Lithuanian team took the name “Foman“, after a food supplement for men produced by Valentis.