Al-Rajhi, Al-Omar and Al-Masoud lead after opening stage of Riyadh Rally

Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr in a Toyota Hilux in action during the start of Riyadh Rally. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 29 November 2019

Al-Rajhi, Al-Omar and Al-Masoud lead after opening stage of Riyadh Rally

  • Forty-four cars, 12 NUTVs, 19 motorcycles, 18 quads and one truck passed the screening and started the event
  • Competitors will tackle a challenging 307km selective section through the deserts around neighboring Rumah on Friday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Sufyan Al-Omar  and Sultan Al-Masoud led their respective car, motorcycle and quad categories after the opening Toyota super special stage at the Riyadh Rally, round four of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, on Thursday afternoon.

Al-Rajhi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr opened their account with the fastest time of 2min 20.6sec for the four-kilometer stage, and that put the Toyota Hilux crew 17.8 seconds quicker than Yasir Seaidan in his new MINI JCW Buggy. The current leader of the Saudi Toyota Desert rally series finished the stage in fifth position.

Dakar legend Stéphane Peterhansel was forced to switch co-drivers at the 11th hour after his wife Andrea failed a stringent pre-race medical check in Germany. Her place in one of two X–raid Buggies was taken by Portugal’s Paulo Fiuza. The Frenchman carded a time of 2min 28.9sec to hold third.

Peterhansel pointed out: “Right after the press conference last week in Paris, we had our yearly X-raid medical check. As there was not so much time left until the rally in Saudi Arabia we, X-raid and the doctor, decided to wait for the results and evaluations before Andrea gets back in a rally car. I have known Paulo for a long time through X-raid. We also know each other from the X-raid team trainings and he knows the terrain in Saudi Arabia from past events.”

Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal completed the stage in second place in his self-designed Ford F-150 Evo, 6.7 seconds behind leader Al-Rajhi. ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari was fourth and Ahmed Al-Qashimi rounded off the top six.

Reda Al-Shammeri led the T2 section for series-production cross-country vehicles by just 1.5 seconds from Yousef Al-Suwaidi.

Shaker Al-Tuwaijry topped the times in T3 in his Can-Am and Saleh Al-Saif led the NUTV category by 2.9 seconds in his Can-Am Maverick X3 from Yousef Al-Dhaif. Majed Al-Tuwaijri and Khalil Al-Tuwaijri tied to round off the top three.

Local rider Sufyan Al-Omar rode his Yamaha to the fastest time in the motorcycle section from Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti and fellow Saudi Abdullah Al-Malki. Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi, Saudi Arabia’s leading rider Mishal Alghuneim, Kiwi Philip Wilson and Al-Balooshi’s brother Sultan rounded off the top six. 

Sultan Al-Masoud set the unofficial quickest time among the quads to head Majed Al-Shegawi and series leader Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi at the overnight halt.

The Saudi trio of Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb completed the stage in a Mercedes truck entered in the T4 category in 3min 33.2sec.

Forty-four cars, 12 NUTVs, 19 motorcycles, 18 quads and one truck passed all the scrutineering and technical checks and started the event, which is being organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

The rally runs with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

Friday, competitors will tackle a challenging 307km selective section through the deserts around neighboring Rumah.


LaLiga Academy UAE launches 2020/2021 season at new home at Dubai Sports City

Updated 05 August 2020

LaLiga Academy UAE launches 2020/2021 season at new home at Dubai Sports City

  • Over the past three seasons, Liga Academy UAE has changed the face of youth football training in the nation

DUBAI: LaLiga Academy UAE, developed by Spain's LaLiga, announced on Tuesday the launch of its 2020/2021 season, welcoming all players at its brand-new home at Dubai Sports City.

Over the past three seasons, Liga Academy UAE has changed the face of youth football training in the nation, with over 2,000 male and female players learning to play football the LaLiga way.

With the move, LaLiga Academy is bringing LaLiga’s global brand to Dubai Sports City, along with its superior youth football training program, executed to the Spanish league’s high standards, and with the same methodology that has developed the world’s best football players.

Moreover, the Football Academy at Dubai Sports City will be upgraded as a result of the LaLiga Academy high professional standards, offering young players the same training and development curriculum and methodology used at LaLiga clubs and delivered by a team of highly qualified LaLiga UEFA-Pro certified coaches.

Maite Ventura, LaLiga’s Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa said, commenting on the announcement: “With the move of LaLiga Academy, we are delighted to bring LaLiga’s brand and gold standard in training to Dubai Sports City, harnessing the venue’s world-class facilities. This reflects our commitment to advance youth football in the UAE, and we are confident that the Academy’s football program delivered to the highest standards at the hands of our LaLiga coaches, will create a pipeline of professional players right from the Academy.”

Hussein Murad, CEO of Inspiratus Consulting LLC, the sports management agency for LaLiga Academy said: “We are delighted to announce Dubai Sports City, which boasts one of the region’s best sports facilities, as the new home of LaLiga Academy in Dubai, in line with our mission to offer young players an immersive and professional football academy experience with a LaLiga high-level training and development program.”

He added: “In three short years, LaLiga Academy has established itself as a football academy in a league of its own, powered by LaLiga, and we look forward to continue growing in line with the UAE’s goals to elevate the standard of football in the nation.”

Open to boys and girls from 4 to 17 years of all abilities, LaLiga Academy, delivers the highest standard of Spanish football training, while providing a pathway to professional football careers and scholarships to top universities. Players will improve their football skills and develop their technical, tactical, physical, social and mental abilities through age-specific coaching sessions and personalized development programs.