CC Saudi Arabian drivers dominate entry for 2007 Hail Saudi Baja

2007 FIA International Cup for Bajas, official candidate event

For immediate release
Wednesday, January 31st, 2007


Qatar's former regional champion Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani enters Hail Saudi Baja;
Saudi's inaugural Hail Baja winner Farhan Al-Galeb returns to defend title;
Ahmed Bin Soughat set to head strong UAE challenge in Saudi Arabia;
Italians Grigoletto and Foschetti set for Toyota diesel power in the desert

HAIL (Saudi Arabia): Saudi Arabian rally drivers dominate the entry list for the 2007 Hail Saudi Baja, which takes place next week under the patronage of the Governor of Hail, HRH Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz, and with the full support of Hail Development Authority.

The event is being run by the Saudi Motor Sports Committee (SMSC) and is an official candidate event for the FIA International Cup for Bajas. It has the full support of the General Headquarters for Youth Welfare and the Higher Association for Tourism and takes place from February 8th-11th.

On a provisional entry list of 35 cars, there are 24 Saudi Arabian drivers and teams from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Italy, with co-drivers representing Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Heading the overseas contingent is the 1993 FIA Middle East Rally Champion Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani. The Qatari has been a regular competitor in the UAE Desert Challenge and the UAE National Rally Championship in recent seasons and heads to Hail keen to continue his streak of successes at the wheel of a Nissan Patrol. Al-Thani was also the winner of last weekend's Umm Al-Quwain Rally in the UAE.

He faces fierce competition from UAE Desert Challenge regular Ahmed Bin Soughat, who switches from his Liberty Rally Team Chevrolet Pick-Up to take part in a Nissan Patrol. The Italian crew of Franco Grigoletto and Paolo Foschetti have also entered the event in a diesel-engined Toyota Tundra and are the sole European entrants.

Abu Dhabi's Sadiq Fadhel has been a regular face in Middle East rallying in a Mitsubishi Lancer and the Emirati heads to Saudi Arabia with a powerful Toyota Landcruiser. Dubai's Raed Baker drivers a Range Rover, while fellow countryman Mattar Al-Mansoury looks set to take part in a Land Rover Defender. Other UAE drivers on the entry list include Khalifa Rashid Al-Kotby in a Ford, Ali Al-Shawi, Ali Mattar and Abdullah Al-Heraez in a trio of Nissan Patrols and Tamjid Abdullah in a Land Rover.

The strong Saudi contingent is headed by the defending Hail Baja champion Farhan Abdul Allah Al-Galeb, who returns to defend his title of 'King of the Saudi desert' at the wheel of a Toyota Landcruiser. He is joined by Middle East rally championship regular Khaled Bin Sultan and Lebanese co-driver Joseph Mattar in a Mitsubishi Pajero, entered in the T2 class. Abdullah Al-Marri teams up with Oman's experienced Hamoud Al-Jabry to compete in a Mitsubishi Pajero entered in the more powerful T1 category.

~This event is running in very close proximity to the Dakar Rally and it is perhaps too close for many of the leading European teams to consider sending cars, but we are delighted with the response from the Middle East,~ said Mishaal Fahad Al-Sudairy, Chairman of the Organising Committee.

~We have more Middle East car entries this year than the UAE Desert Challenge and the 2005 Qatar Baja and there has been a lot of interest in the event, including potential entries from two massive names from Middle East motorsport. This feedback bodes well for the long-term future of the Saudi Baja and this type of sport in the region.~

Crucial support for the Hail Saudi Baja comes from Rakeeza, Al-Maraa'i, the Saudi Basic Industries Company (SABIC), Iqtisadiah newspapers and Al-Rasheed Engineering. The Hail-based event also has backing from MBC, Safra Power, Yamama Cement, Toyota, the Ahli Commercial Bank, Saudi Airways and Bison energy drink.

For entry information about the 2007 Hail Saudi Baja, contact either Walid Mihyar (E-mail: wmihyar@hotmail.com) or Mishaal Fahad Al-Sudairy (E-mail: msudairy@msudairy.com) at the Saudi Motor Sport Committee, PO Box 87881, Riyadh 11652, Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 9661 477 1034 and Fax: + 9661 477 1050. www.Saudimotorsport.com


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


Date issued: 31/01/2007

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