Regional federations unite to launch Gulf Challenge off-road rally series
26 May 2017 - 0:00
Dubai : Motorsport federations of six GCC countries will unite to host a brand new off-road rally series, the 2017 Gulf Challenge, it was announced yesterday.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates, disclosed the details of the new rally series which will be initially consist of five rounds that promises a golden future for rallying in the Gulf region.
A brief outline of the Gulf Challenge were released in Dubai last October, but further details and the first ever calendar of events have now been finalised. Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Bakhashab will promote the new series in conjunction with the federations of the various GCC countries involved in the project.
“The Gulf Challenge is our first step of investment in our promising GCC talent in the field of motor sport,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE and Emirates Motor Sports Federation (EMSF).
“The new championship will enable us to develop those talents and sustain motor sport in the Gulf region."
“The Gulf Challenge will be an important regional addition. It will allow us to invest in many factors, including the fact that competitors will gather in the region to participate in several events in close proximity to reduce costs. This will attract participants from all around the world. All those concerned in motor sport, including media, sponsors and manufacturers, will be present in the region, so it will be a great opportunity to develop many aspects of motor sport,” Sulayem said.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Qatar have seen growth in cross-country type events in recent years and the national federations of each of those countries have joined forces with like-minded clubs in Bahrain and Oman to create the new series.
The Gulf Challenge was the brainchild of Ben Sulayem, who has the full backing and support of Prince Sultan bin Bandar Al Faisal, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, QMMF President Abdulrahman Al Mannai, Oman Automobile Association President Jamal Altai, Bahrain Motor Federation President Sheikh Abdullah bin Essa Al Khalifa and Sheikh Ali Al Fawaz Al Sabah, Chairman of the Board of Basel Al Sabah Motor Sports Club.
The Gulf Challenge has been devised to be open for various car, motorcycle and quad classes. Separate championships will be run for each discipline.
With the exception of the introduction of Formula One and MotoGP races to the region, this is the largest motor sporting development in the Gulf since the creation of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship in 1984.
Cars running in the FIA T1, T2 and T3 categories will be eligible and two local categories will be developed for T1L (modified cars) and T2L (standard cars that are not FIA homologated but comply with T2 regulations). There will also be a couple of Buggy categories (B1 and B2).
Motorcycles will compete for the overall championship and there will be classes for 450, Over 450, Masters, Marathon and Quads.