Saudia partners with ABB FIA Formula E Championship ahead of Ad Diriyah race

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Officials unveil the Saudia-branded Formula E car that will race in the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix. (Arab News)
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Officials unveil the Saudia-branded Formula E car that will race in the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix. (Arab News)
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Officials unveil the Saudia-branded Formula E car that will race in the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix. (Arab News)
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Officials unveil the Saudia-branded Formula E car that will race in the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix. (Arab News)
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Above, the Saudia-branded Formula E car that will race in the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix. (Arab News)
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Above, the Saudia-branded Formula E car that will race in the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix. (Arab News)
Updated 14 December 2018
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Saudia partners with ABB FIA Formula E Championship ahead of Ad Diriyah race

AD DIRIYAH, Saudi Arabia: The ABB FIA Formula E Championship on Tuesday announced a new long-term partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) - the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - as official airline partner of the all-electric series and race title partner of the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix.

Coinciding with the introduction of a new visa process for fan travel to Saudi Arabia, Saudia has come on board ahead of season five and the debut of Formula E in the Middle East on December 15. The announcement was made at a special event hosted at Governorate Ad Diriyah, following a roadshow through the Saudi Arabian capital with the striking new-look Gen2 car.

Felipe Massa – Venturi Formula E Team driver – got behind the wheel of the official championship car for the very first time, adorned with new Saudia branding on the rear-wing spoilers and on top of the nose cone.

In preparation for the highly-anticipated new era of electric racing and the opening round in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia is to open to the world like never before as it launches a dedicated online visa process for international tourists.

Fans will be able to apply via the newly-created ‘Sharek’ platform, using an authorized ticket to permit entry to Saudi Arabia. The system will be implemented for the first time as the country gears up for the spectacle of Formula E - marking the introduction of easy application and verification for foreign travelers.

Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “It’s fantastic news that Saudia is joining the ABB FIA Formula E Championship as official airline partner – ahead of the first race in Saudi Arabia and the debut of fully-electric racing in the Middle East. The partnership continues to show the appeal of Formula E on a global scale and I’m proud to welcome Saudia to the Formula E family as the excitement continues to build for the opening round of season five on December 15. When you consider Saudi Arabia is opening-up to international sports fans for the first time and we have a new partner who can connect those fans to our series, it really is a strong additional to the championship.”

Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, commented: “Saudia is pleased to be supporting the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for the upcoming event in Ad Diriyah – a first for Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The airline welcomes fans from around the world to the opening race at the historic Ad Diriyah site and to come aboard with SAUDIA as we get set to wish the teams all the very best for the race and a new era of electric street racing, starting with the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix.”

Beyond hosting the first fully-electric race in the region and staging it in a stunning UNESCO heritage site, hosts of the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix, the General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabian Motor Federation have confirmed ambitious plans for the opening race of season 5 and the Kingdom’s debut in the championship schedule.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority added: “We really want to celebrate this moment with the people of Saudia Arabia, all those passionate fans and families who want to experience a live E-Prix for the first time. But with the introduction of a new visa process, now we can celebrate it with the world. It’s an opportunity we plan to grasp with both hands with the addition of soon to be announced spectacular line-up of live music, culture and entertainment featuring global stars as part of an unmissable three-day festival.”

The 2018/19 season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship sparks into life in Ad Diriyah on December 15.


Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

Updated 21 February 2019
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Simona Halep positive despite Dubai defeat by Belinda Bencic

  • Former world No.1 blames three-set loss on tiredness after nine matches in 13 days.
  • Halep has high hopes for the rest of 2019, saying her game is in good shape.

LONDON: Simona Halep is still certain a good year lies in store for her despite losing to Belinda Bencic in the Dubai quarterfinals.
The Romanian former world No. 1 was the favorite to win her second title in the emirate but ran out of steam as her Swiss opponent ran out 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner.
It was Halep’s ninth match in just 13 days and she admitted tiredness had caught up with her.
“It was really difficult physically. I was tired,” the world No. 2 said.

Bencic came from a set down to beat the favorite in the last-eight encounter in Dubai. (AFP) 


“After the second set, I felt like I’m getting cramping a little bit. It’s normal. I was sweating a lot.”
While, her fatigue was clear for all to see, Halep was not using it as an excuse, admitting Bencic, who has now beaten her in two of their three matches, was the deserved winner.
“Yeah, she played well. She played very well. In the end, she was a little bit stronger,” the Romanian said.
Having lost in the Qatar final last weekend and failed to make the last-four in Dubai you might think Halep would be disappointed with her Middle East stint. She was, however, far from glum and revealed she is looking forward to landing more titles to add to her collection during the rest of the year.

Cheerio from Halep after her defeat to the Swiss. (AFP) 


“I think were three good weeks. Tough weeks. A lot of tension, a lot of pressure. Also the Fed Cup,” she said.
“I take only positive things. I had great matches. My level is good. Physically also I’m good. But day by day I had to play, so is not easy.
“I’m confident for the next tournaments.”