Saudi automobile federation all set for Al-Qassim Rally

Updated 02 October 2019

Saudi automobile federation all set for Al-Qassim Rally

  • The second stage gets under way on Oct. 18 and runs for 170km over sandy terrain with difficult navigation and featuring large sand dunes

BURAIDAH: The Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation has announced that it will stage Al-Qassim Rally, the second round of the Saudi Desert Rally Championship, from Oct. 17 to 19.

The latest addition to the regional motor sporting calendar is a challenging three-day cross-country rally through desert terrain in the north-central region of Saudi Arabia.

The event is being organized by the same team that manages the Ha’il International Rally and has been working with the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) to bring the Dakar Rally to the Kingdom for the first time in 2020. The federation is led by Prince Khalid bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal.

Al-Qassim Rally will be based in the city of Buraidah, the capital of the region, which will also host the Dakar Rally for the first time in January next year. The region is governed by Prince Faisal bin Mishaal.

Competitive action will take place over one short opening stage and two challenging desert selective sections that will give teams an invaluable insight into the type of terrain that they might face during the Dakar Rally.

The opening stage on Thursday, Oct. 17, is a short run of just 3.55 kilometers in Buraidah.

The second stage gets under way on Oct. 18 and runs for 170 kilometers over sandy terrain with difficult navigation and featuring large sand dunes.

Action concludes with the third 200 kilometer stage on Oct. 19. This crosses rocky terrain, wadis and a fine balance of sandy tracks featuring difficult navigation and large dunes.

Entries for the rally are now open. The closing date has been set for Wednesday, Oct. 9. For further information and entry details, contact the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), Tel: + 966 22 880 4614, Fax: + 966 11 880 4661, Email: [email protected]. website: www.samf.gov.sa


Saudi desert gears up for first Dakar rally in Asia

Updated 6 min 28 sec ago

Saudi desert gears up for first Dakar rally in Asia

  • Taking place from January 5 to 17, the 7500-kilometer adventure will be hosted in Asia for the first time
  • The race will start in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya, Riyadh

RIYADH: There are only three weeks to go until Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 starts in Jeddah.

It will be the first time this adventurous race comes to Asia, where Saudi Arabia’s desert will play host to the 7,500-km-long rally over 13 days of action and 12 stages of challenging navigation.

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

“We were really excited by the beautiful landscape. The deserts were exactly what we expected with their dunes, nice mountains and small canyons. We have some stages along the sea also, so it will be a mixed landscape, which is very interesting,” 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel said.

FASTFACT

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

More than 550 drivers from 62 countries will participate in the 12-stage race, which runs from Jan. 5-17. 

“Saudi Arabia is a big country, so there are a lot of possibilities. It has many deserts, which makes it the perfect place to organize Dakar,” the French driver added.

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 gets underway in Jeddah before drivers and crews navigate their way through the winding dunes for 752 km.

The challenge will continue up north along the coast for nearly 900 km through the Red Sea Project until the futuristic megacity of Neom, where the journey will reach its highest point at an altitude of 1,400 meters amid a series of canyons and mountains.

A combination of sandy stretches and gravel await Dakar’s thrill-seeking competitors as they cruise through the next 676 km from Neom to AlUla in Dakar’s fourth stage, before the sandy hills of Hail put the navigation skills of competitors to the test as they descend south onto Riyadh.

A rest day in the capital will be followed by Dakar Saudi Arabia’s longest stage — 741 km — as the route takes a turn west to the center of the Kingdom’s enormous desert.

The race will take place from January 5 to 17. (Supplied)

The course will then loop back toward Haradh in the eastern governorate of Al-Ahsa, marking the entrance to the Empty Quarter and building up to the grand finale in the future entertainment, sports and cultural destination of Qiddiya, where the winner will be crowned on the final podium.

“Saudi Arabia is a very big country, and you can find almost every type of terrain in it,” Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi said.

Spanish rally driver Carlos Sainz added: “I think everyone finds it very exciting. It seems to be really what Dakar needs, and we are hoping to enjoy it and have a good race.”

The Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles officially confirmed route details of the rally at an international press conference in Paris. 

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will see pilots drive specially modified vehicles, trucks, quads, SxS (four-wheel drive, off-road vehicles) and motorbikes, designed to handle the 12 stages of the varied, challenging terrains.