Gulf Challenge set to offer exciting action for GCC motor sport fans

 09 Oct 2016 - 14:50

Gulf Challenge set to offer exciting action for GCC motor sport fans
QMMF President Abdulrahman Al Mannai, Bahrain Motor Federation’s Sheikh Abdulla Bin Issa Al Khalifa, Kuwait International Automobile Club’s Sheikh Ali Al Fawaz Al Sabah, Oman Automobile Association’s Jamal Al Ta’ai, Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation’s Abudullah Bakashab and Automobile and Touring club of UAE’s Mohammed Ben Sulayem pose for a photograph during yesterday’s launching ceremony held at ATCUAE in Dubai, UAE.

The Peninsula

DUBAI: The six GCC motor sport federations have announced the launch of a new ambitious series that will allow for bikes, cars and buggies to compete in the ‘Gulf Challenge’, details showed yesterday.

The brand new series - set to be launched in 2017 - is designed to reduce the costs for competitors, specially for novice drivers and to explore the natural terrain of the Arabian Gulf region.

The plans have been unveiled after a year of research, a statement said yesterday. Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) will feature prominently in the new series.

The launch hosted at ATCUAE was attended by QMMF President Abdulrahman Al Mannai, Bahrain Motor Federation’s Sheikh Abdulla Bin Issa Al Khalifa, Kuwait International Automobile Club’s Sheikh Ali Al Fawaz Al Sabah, Oman Automobile Association’s Jamal Al Ta’ai, Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation’s Abudullah Bakashab and Automobile and Touring club of UAE’s Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“This is the biggest development for the GCC motor sport community since rallying was started in the region 30 years ago. We are confident that via our collective efforts this will add real value to the motor sport community and society in general,” a group statement said yesterday. The inaugural cross country rally series in 2017 will feature rounds in Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar where motor sport enjoys huge fan following.

In what has been termed a catch all approach, cars, motorcycles and buggies will be permitted to take part with separate Championships for each.

“We see this as the perfect proving ground for the next generation of Arab Champions and the natural route for those who want to progress on to compete in the three World Cup Cross Country events held in this region,” the statement added.

In addition, every federation in the region has also undertaken to examine the creation of individual feeder National Championships in the respective countries for novice competitors with an annual budget ceiling of $12,000 for a motorcycle and $34,000 for a buggy.

The six federations also stressed that they see this Championship as a platform for local engineers and preparation companies to develop vehicles for the series and so provide added value to society.

The series will be promoted mainly via social media. Each round will be one day in duration and run over approximately 150 kms of desert terrain.

Each round of the ‘Gulf Challenge’ will be promoted and managed by the host federation with collective management of time keeping, safety regulations and marketing by the six founding GCC Federations.