CC Minor route changes planned for 2009 Hail Saudi Baja
SAUDI ARABIA HA'IL BAJA (Ha'il Rally 2009…The Great Nafud Challenge), January 26th-29th, 2009
2009 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 1 of 6
For immediate release
Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
MINOR ROUTE CHANGES PLANNED
FOR SAUDI'S HA'IL BAJA IN JANUARY
·SAMF extends super special distance to 6.5km
·Concessions available for overseas teams
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia): Officials at the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) have introduced several minor changes to the route and format of the 2009 Saudi Arabian Ha'il Baja or Ha'il Rally 2009, which will run as the opening round of the 2009 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in the Nafud desert, near Ha'il, in the north-central region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on January 26th-29th, 2009.
The event is being organised by the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation under the patronage of HRH Prince Saud Bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Ha'il, President of the Supreme Commission for Ha'il Development and the Head of the Supreme Commission of the Ha'il Rally.
"Members of our team have visited Ha'il recently and it was a very constructive visit," insisted Mishaal Al-Sudairy, chairman of the organising committee. "They have managed to find improvements to the stages to fall in line with what competitors' gave us in feedback earlier this year and also so that we fully comply with the safety guidelines laid down by the FIA."
The organising team have extended the length of the opening super special stage on Tuesday, January 27th to 6.5km on a section of desert terrain adjacent to the Maghwat conference facility. This will again host the ceremonial start and finish, documentation, scrutineering and rally and media offices for the three-day event.
The super special is now a varied stage, crossing several wadis and skirting small 'jebels' at an excellent venue, which is ideally located for spectator access and live television coverage.
Clerk of the course Elie Semaan has also confirmed that the first 50km of last year's second leg have been scrapped, because the section was not technical enough to test teams and was also quite rough. The road section to the start of the selective has been shortened to about 45km and Semaan and his team also managed to find around 100km of challenging desert trails to the same opening passage control as the one used in 2008. The remainder of the stage retains a similar format to the one crossed in February.
The third and final leg crossed a section of tarmac at Al-Hafer in 2008, but Semaan was keen to reduce the need for this link on safety grounds. "The section after this tarmac was very fast and not really competitive or challenging last time," admitted Semaan. "So we have cancelled the tarmac crossing and found a new 50km of sand dunes and a technically twisty section to replace the old part of the stage."
The ceremonial start and official Prologue will take place on Tuesday, January 27th and the main action will take place over two legs in the Nafud desert on Wednesday, January 28th and Thursday, January 29th, with the ceremonial prize giving, podium and post-event press conference taking place on Thursday afternoon.
Non-Saudi teams will be offered $2500.00 USD and accommodation if they wish to take part in the Ha'il Baja, while event officials will also arrange visa formalities, where necessary, although passport details must reach organisers no less than four weeks before the event, for which entries are now officially open.
Further information on concessions for international, GCC and Saudi Arabian teams is available from the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, PO Box 87881, Riyadh 11652, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 9661 477 1035, Fax: + 9661 477 1050 and from Ramy Atwa, firstname.lastname@example.org or Hamoud Al-Jabry, Mobile: +966 560 623436, E-mail:email@example.com.
For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2009 Ha'il Saudi Baja International Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).