CC European teams express interest in Hail Saudi Baja

SAUDI ARABIA HAIL BAJA  (Hail Rally 2008…The Great Nufud Challenge), February 11th-14th, 2008
2008 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 1 of 6
For immediate release
Friday, January 4th, 2008

Event officials introduce minor changes to 2007 desert route

RIYADH (Saudi Arabia): International teams from as far afield as Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Russia, as well as many parts of the Middle East, have shown interest in taking part in the Saudi Arabian Hail Baja, the opening round of the 2008 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, which takes place in the Hail region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 11th-14th.

The Belgian Overdrive Racing Team runs under the management of former Nissan and BMW factory driver Gregoire de Mevius and Overdrive personnel are keen to run the highly-rated Russian driver Boris Gadasin in a Nissan Pick-Up. Gadasin took part in several rounds of last year’s Baja series and was one of the front-runners in the Baja GB last August.

“We were in contact with event organisers before the Christmas break,” admitted team spokesman Jean-Marc Fortin. “Before we went away on the Dakar Rally, we wanted to establish details of shipping arrangements and the type of terrain we would face to enable us to plan the entries on our return from Dakar.”

Dutch and Belgian teams have also been in contact with event officials in Riyadh and Italian liaison representative Mario Ravaccia has confirmed that several teams from Italy are keen to visit the Hail event for the first time. Ravaccia and fellow journalist Guisy Concina visited the event last year when it ran as a candidate for future inclusion in the championship.

The 2007 event attracted a strong entry from GCC countries, but the graduation to the FIA international championship means that Saudi officials are preparing to accommodate more international contenders from this year’s six-round series, which also includes rounds in Italy, Spain, Hungary, Wales and Portugal. Entries for the Saudi event close on Tuesday, January 29th.

“We have introduced a few minor changes and modifications to the route for this year’s Baja,” admitted race director Abdullah Bakhashab. “We have modified the start of the second selective section to eliminate the start from the foot of a soft sandy hill and we have reduced the third selective by around 10km because of the construction of a new tarmac road. But the remainder of the route will run over classic sandy surfaces.”

The Baja will take place under the patronage of HRH Prince Saud Bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz, Governor of Hail, President of the Supreme Commission for Hail Development and the Head of the Supreme Commission of the Hail Rally.

Scrutineering and documentation will take place on the revised date of Monday, February 11th and this will be followed by the ceremonial start at the Prince Sultan Center in Hail on Tuesday, February 12th at 2pm. Competitors will then head straight into a timed super special stage at 15.30hrs.
The first desert leg will take place between 07.00hrs and 15.00hrs on Wednesday, February 13th, while the second and final leg of the 2008 Hail Baja will start at 09.00hrs on Thursday, February 14th and reach a conclusion at 15.30hrs. The ceremonial finish will take place at Maghwat from 6pm.
Entry details and more information about the event are available from the Saudi Motor Sport Committee, PO Box 87881, Riyadh 11652, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 9661 477 1034, Fax: + 9661 477 1050 and from Rami Atwa, E-mail: ram_atwa@yahoo.com, www.saudimotorsport.com

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2008 Hail Saudi Baja International Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).

Date issued: 04/01/2008

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