Saudi drivers to make racing history with debuts at Ad Diriyah

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Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team will take part in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. (Supplied)
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Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team will take part in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. (Supplied)
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Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team will take part in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. (Supplied)
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Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team will take part in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. (Supplied)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Saudi drivers to make racing history with debuts at Ad Diriyah

  • Two local heroes to take to the track in the first-ever Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY contest for production-based electric cars
  • Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team will be among the first drivers to test Ad Diriyah track

RIYADH: Saudi motorsport has never looked so good as two drivers prepare for a historic debut in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, the world’s first international championship for production-based electric cars, being launched at the racetrack created at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah.

Flying the flag for Saudi Arabia, the General Sports Authority (SAMF) and the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF), Ahmed Bin Khanen and Bandar Alesayi of the Saudi Racing team will be among the first drivers to take to the track tomorrow.

Saudi fans can cheer them on during their free practice session at 3.45pm tomorrow (Friday, December 14), and see if they make it to the final of eTROPHY at 12.50pm on Saturday (December 15).

Ahmed Bin Khanen, Saudi Racing said: “It’s really great to be part of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY Championship, especially as the first race is in Saudi Arabia with my family and friends. I hope to get a good race result and most importantly, make the race exciting for fans to watch.”

The Saturday eTrophy final precedes the main ABB FIA Formula E race, the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix.

Single-day tickets from Friday at SR330 are still available at www.ad-diriyah-eprix.com, along with three-day tickets from SR950.


Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

Updated 34 min 41 sec ago
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Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

  • The ban was imposed in wake of Nipah virus outbreak last May 
  • With mango season around the corner, Kerala exporters hope the Kingdom will allow imports again

NEW DELHI: Indian exporters have urged the government to ask Saudi Arabia to lift the importation ban on fruits and vegetables from the southern state of Kerala.

The outbreak of a deadly virus in certain parts of Kerala in May last year forced Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to ban imports of horticultural products from the state. 

Most GCC countries have lifted the ban thereafter.

“We are losing more than $1,000 per day as a result of the ban,” says P.E. Ashraf Ali of Pomona Exports, a Kerala-based export company that has been sending fruits and vegetables to Saudi Arabia for the past 20 years.

“We are now sending our products to other south Indian cities, like Coimbatore and Bangalore, and this entails extra costs for us and has significantly reduced our profit margin,” Ali told Arab News.  

Around 20 exporters in Kerala export horticulture products to GCC countries.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the major markets for us in the Gulf region,” said Ali. “Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah are three major airports to which we send our products.” 

V.S. Sunil Kumar, Kerala's agriculture minister, called it “a serious issue.”

He said: “I have already sent two letters to the union government in New Delhi to talk to Saudi Arabia and sort out the matter. New Delhi should reassure them and request them to lift the ban.”

Kumar, who is also a minister in the communist government in the southern state, reiterated the importance of trade with Saudi Arabia.

“Kerala and the Kingdom have shared close trade and cultural ties for centuries,” he told Arab News. “I understand the central government has already taken up the issue with authorities in Saudi Arabia. New Delhi should take more proactive steps to address the concerns of exporters in Kerala.”

V Venugopal, president of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a premier trade body in Kerala, called for inter-governmental discussion between India and Saudi Arabia to sort out this issue.

“The Kerala government has taken very effective steps to control the Nipah virus,” he said. “If exports do not resume soon, the fruit and vegetable market will be very badly impacted. These are very perishable items that cannot be stored. The Indian government should convince Riyadh that Nipah was a small incident that happened more than seven months ago.”

He said that mangoes from Kerala are among the most popular in Saudi Arabia and that many people from Kerala living in Saudi Arabia are expecting the fruit. 

“This is not only a loss for local farmers, but for people in the country,” he said.

Arab News approached the Commerce Ministry in New Delhi on this issue, but received no comment.