X-raid to race for Bahrain in Dakar Rally

The X-raid team will race for Bahrain in their first self-developed and constructed Mini John Cooper Works and Mini John Cooper Works Buggy.
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Updated 05 January 2020

X-raid to race for Bahrain in Dakar Rally

  • The rally will be flagged off in Jeddah and conclude in Riyadh, covering 7,500 kilometers

Bahrain announced its participation in the Dakar Rally, to be held in Saudi Arabia from Jan. 5 to 17. The first rally in the Middle East will see the X-raid team racing for Bahrain in their first self-developed and constructed Mini John Cooper Works and Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. The Bahrain team will include champion drivers Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz and co-drivers Lucas Cruz and Paulo Fiúza.
The 2020 edition of the rally also marks a milestone for the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia becoming the first country in the region to play host to the challenge, gaining the right to hold it for the next five years. The 13-day off-road race will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations contest in 12 stages while exploring the vast and formidable desert terrains of the largest country in the region.
Sheikh Abdulla bin Isa Al-Khalifa, president of Bahrain’s Motor Federation, said: “This is as much a moment of pride for Bahrain, as it is for our region. Our participation shows Bahrain’s advances in the motorsports world, inspired no doubt by Bahrain’s pioneering move to host the Formula One Grand Prix since 2004.”
“An event of such global magnitude presents the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a monumental opportunity to showcase its unique natural landscape, as well as its keenness and enthusiasm to bring global sporting events to the country and the region.”
Sven Quandt, owner of the German motorsport team X-raid, a specialist in cross-country rallying, which will be taking part in the rally, said: “This is a big achievement for Bahrain, which is already making its presence felt on global stage. The country’s participation adds another dimension to its vision to be a nation that hosts, supports, organizes, develops and participates in the success of the global sports movement.”
The rally will be flagged off in Jeddah and conclude in Riyadh, covering 7,500 kilometers. The route will pass through some of the most picturesque destinations in Saudi Arabia, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of AlUla in the northwest; Tabouk region in the northeast, which is home to the futuristic NEOM city project; the ancient Ha’il region; and Wadi Al-Dawasir in Najd province, which is being developed in the middle of the desert as a new urban center.

3rd META Cinema Forum to screen at Vox Cinemas

Updated 01 October 2020

3rd META Cinema Forum to screen at Vox Cinemas

Now in its 3rd edition, META Cinema Forum is the biggest cinema convention covering the Middle East and African markets. After signing an agreement with the Pan African Film Consortium, the MENA Cinema Forum is now rebranded as META Cinema Forum, inclusive of the Middle East and the entire African continent.

The forum takes place on Oct. 27 and 28 and is set to be one of the only annual events for the cinema industry in 2020 as most global conventions were canceled as a result of the pandemic and will be executed in a hybrid format. The forum will give delegates the option between attending physically at Vox Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, or alternatively delegates can attend virtually from the comfort of their home or offices across the globe via video conferencing technology.

“The cinema industry has been among the most impacted sectors by the pandemic, but if the $54 million box office sales of Tenet, the first blockbuster release since the pandemic, in its opening week at select international markets has proven anything, is that moviegoing is a habit we do not wish to kick, and that passion for movies and cinema as a form of accessible entertainment is here to stay,” said Leila Masinaei, META Cinema Forum Conference director and managing partner of Great Minds Event Management.

“Therefore, in close coordination with the major global stakeholders, we came up with a true hybrid event, the first of its kind in the world for the cinema industry, to facilitate collaborations that are required to help with the recovery. The event will highlight the plan for projects in the region, the recovery phase for the cinema industry, and content diversification as key critical elements.”

The forum includes a one-day, knowledge-packed conference, select slate presentations of upcoming content and films from leading Hollywood and international studios, a live META Cinema Projects Insight session with the most senior cinema leaders in the region and rounded off with a networking after-event reception.

Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al-Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al-Futtaim Leisure and Entertainment, said: “At Vox Cinemas, we remain fundamentally confident about the future and resilience of the cinema industry, which has weathered many societal storms and survived more than a century of challenges ... We have witnessed a significant increase in our box office following the first wave of new releases and, with a backlog of blockbusters about to light up our screens regionally, cinema is set for a major comeback.”

The third edition is officially supported by some of the biggest cinema operators in the Middle East including Vox Cinemas, Novo Cinemas, Cinépolis Cinemas, and AMC Cinemas.