Expanded Ha’il International Rally set to roll next month

Updated 07 February 2013
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Expanded Ha’il International Rally set to roll next month

The Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) has now finalized the dates and route format for the Ha’il International Rally, a FIA-sanctioned cross-country event that will run for nearly 1,000 competitive kilometers through the north-central region of the country from March 21 to 28.
The event is being staged under the patronage of Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Ha’il, president of the Supreme Commission for Ha’il Development and the head of the Supreme Commission of the Ha’il Rally.
The SAMF runs under the chairmanship of Prince Sultan bin Bandar Al-Faisal and the event is being organized in conjunction with the High Authority for the Development of Ha’il.
New rally director Anwar Helmi has confirmed that the expanded Ha’il International Rally will feature four gruelling desert stages through the scenic An Nafud desert and a shorter 6km super special stage to get the competition under way. The route will offer a wide variety of desert terrain, including gravel trails, sand dunes, wadis, areas of tricky navigation and the passing of small oasis farms. Part of the route will pass the Alolaym mountains and skirt the village of Qna.
There will also be a shorter event for motorcycles (bikes and quads) for the first time. This will be divided into four shorter sections of around 100km apiece to cater for refueling requirements.
“The rally will be open to all categories of cars and motorcycles for the first time,” said SAMF Chairman Prince Sultan.
“We have also increased the distance this year to raise the level of the challenge for our competitors. Our team has just completed a comprehensive survey of the route of the event.”
Elie Semaan is again appointed as clerk of the course and Eias Al-Saleh is responsible for liaison with the SAMF chairman. Hungarian consultant László Polgár – a member of the organizing committee for the Hungarian Baja round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies — has worked on the rally route and has been appointed as the assistant clerk of the course.
Scrutineering and documentation will take place at the Maghwat Conference Center on March 22 and 23. This will be followed by the pre-event press conference and a permitted period to carry out the reconnaissance of the super special stage on Saturday afternoon.
The ceremonial start takes place at 10.00hrs March 24 and precedes the super special stage at 15.30hrs. The first of four desert selective sections gets underway at 06.00hrs on March 25 and the competitive action finishes on March 28 with the finishing ceremony rounding off proceedings at 19.00hrs. The selective sections will be approximately 300km, 260km, 195km and 210km in length.
Entries are now open for vehicles complying with FIA T1, T2, T3 and T4 regulations. There will also be a two-wheel drive category within the T1 section and another category for diesel cars. The closing date for entries at reduced fees is on March 7 and the final closing date will be March 19. There will be three categories in the motorcycle section — below 450cc, above 450cc and quads.
Further information is available from the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, PO Box 87881, Riyadh 11652, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 9661 288 5855, Fax: + 9661 288 3882, E-mail: [email protected] Also, visit the website: http://www.samf.gov.sa, http://samf.gov.sa/Hail2013/Hail2013-reg-Car.htm


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.