CC Saudi Arabia announces new FIA Baja candidate event in Hail

2007 FIA International Cup for Bajas, official candidate event

For immediate release
Sunday, October 1st, 2006


Hail base for new motorsport event in Saudi Arabia;
Clerk of the Course role for Jordan’s Wallid Mihyar

HAIL (Saudi Arabia): The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to enter the world of international motorsport for the first time, following today’s announcement that the Hail Saudi Baja will become an official candidate event for the FIA International Cup for Bajas. The event will take place near Hail in northern Saudi Arabia on February 8th-11th, 2007 and will be organised by the Saudi Motor Sports Committee (SMSC), with the support of Hail Development Authority and under the patronage of the Governor of Hail, HRH Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz.

The Hail Saudi Baja ran for the first time last February and will be observed by the FIA next February for future inclusion in an international FIA championship. “This is fantastic news for all concerned,” said Mishaal Fahad Al-Sudairy, Chairman of the Organising Committee. “We have been aiming for this for quite a while now. The goal is to put motorsport in Saudi Arabia on the FIA international map.”

“Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East region and, as yet, has not been represented at FIA international level in any form of motorsport,” said Derek Ledger, FIA Vice-President and Head of the FIA Middle East Commission. “There is a strong team of officials and enthusiasts behind the event and this is a major breakthrough for the sport in the entire Middle East region.

“The last event was well attended, offered a challenging route format and was well received. I am fully confident that the organising team can build upon this and take the Hail Saudi Baja to even greater heights in the future. The Kingdom has fabulous terrain for Cross-Country rallying and I am sure that the event will use these areas to give it its own unique challenge.”

Wallid Mihyar will act as Event Director and Clerk of the Course for a second successive year. Jordanian Mihyar has previously worked in a similar capacity in the Syria and Oman international rallies, rounds of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

The event will be based at Hail in northern Saudi Arabia and is set to offer in the region of 450 competitive kilometres in the surrounding deserts. There will be two timed legs, with approximately 260 kilometres of competition for leg one and 190 kilometres for leg two, in the region around Jubbal Bir Al Alim, An Nafud and Al Kabir.

Hail is a famous historic oasis town in Saudi Arabia and is located along the famous Darb Zubaydah caravan route that brought pilgrim caravans from Mesopotamia, Iran and Central Asia to Mecca and Medina.

Motorsport and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have strong links without the country ever hosting an event of this scale before. Mohammed Al-Malki was one of the first Saudi drivers to tackle off-road events and rounds of the FIA Middle East rally series, before Jeddah’s Mamdouh Khayat became the first Saudi driver to win the regional rally series in 1992.

Khayat’s success spurred several drivers to take up the sport and Ahmed Al-Sabban has been a regular driver in regional rallying since making his debut in the Gulf Oil team back in 1993. But the most successful of all the Saudi drivers was Abdullah Bakhashab, who went on to win the Middle East title in a Toyota and represented the country in both the FIA World Rally Championship and the UAE Desert Challenge.

Bakhashab is now a well known figure in Middle East motorsport circles and was the brainchild behind the Toyota RAV-4 Challenge to find promising up and coming rally drivers from Saudi Arabia. Several of them have gone on to tackle events across the Middle East and are sure to be avid supporters of the Hail Saudi Baja 2007.

For entry information and details about the 2007 Hail Saudi Baja, contact either Wallid Mihyar (E-mail: wmihyar@hotmail.com) or Mishaal Fahad Al Sudairy (E-mail: msudairy@msudairy.com) and www.Saudimotorsport.com


For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2007 Hail Saudi Baja English Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, NCH Building, Upper Bar, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 7EH, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 1952 825078, Fax: +44 1952 825001, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).

Date issued: 01/10/2006

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