DUBAI, 8th December, 2016 (WAM) — The 2016 Dubai International Rally, running for the first time under its new format as a Cross Country Baja Rally, will feature a bumper entry list of over 70 cars, buggies, motorcycles and Quads.
The 2016 Dubai International Rally is organised by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), and is being staged as a candidate event for the 2017 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. The event has already secured a place in the 2017 FIM Baja World Cup.
The event kicks off with a ceremonial start taking place at the Bab Al Shams Arena on Thursday 8th December 2016 at 19:30, with the competitive stages of over 220kms taking place in the desert south of Al Qudra all day on Friday 9th December 2016.
“We are delighted that so many competitors have come out to support our new initiative with the event, and it is a personal pleasure for me to see the Dubai International Rally return to the level that it deserves as the UAE’s oldest motorsport event”, said President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE, who won the event a record 15 times when it was a round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
“Such high numbers even for the candidate event fully justifies the decision we made to evolve the event into a Cross Country Baja Rally, which is the dominant discipline now in the Gulf”.
The biggest name on the International Entry List for cars is Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, regular World Rally Championship competitor and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Racing, as he continues his steps into off-road rallying. It will truly be a family affair for Sheikh Khalid as his brother, Sheikh Abdulla Al Qassimi, and nephew, Sheikh Mohammed Al Qassimi, will both take part in the national portion of the event.
Sheikh Khalid will be using the event as final training prior to making his debut in the infamous Dakar Rally, which kicks off in a little over one months’ time. Also on the entry list for both the Dubai International Rally and the Dakar Rally, and highlighting just what a popular destination the UAE now is for motorsport competitors, is two time FIA African Rally Champion Conrad Rautenbach from Zimbabwe, as well as Italian motorcyclist Manuel Luchese, who will compete in the ‘Malle Moto’ class at Dakar, where riders compete with no support crew and minimal spare parts.
In total, there are 24 cars and buggies taking part in the international part of the event, with a further 10 cars and buggies running in the national section. A further 44 motorcycles and quads, including the leading riders from the region like Mohammed Al Balooshi, Mohammed Jaffar and Khalid Al Falasi, will also take part in the event for the first time.