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World champion Chen, teen Kostornaia win French figure skating Grand Prix

JEDDAH: The 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season will see two German giants — TAG Heuer Porsche and Mercedes-Benz EQ  — complete a full grid of 24 cars for the very first time in Formula E’s history, creating one of the most eagerly anticipated showdowns in motorsport. In total, 12 teams from around the world…

World champion Chen, teen Kostornaia win French figure skating Grand Prix

JEDDAH: The 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season will see two German giants — TAG Heuer Porsche and Mercedes-Benz EQ  — complete a full grid of 24 cars for the very first time in Formula E’s history, creating one of the most eagerly anticipated showdowns in motorsport.

In total, 12 teams from around the world are now focused on the Diriyah Circuit in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22 and 23. The track, created in the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the home of kings and heroes, is set for electrifying action, given that season 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship kicks off with a doubleheader of back-to-back races. Here we meet the teams that will be fighting for glory. 

 

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler — Germany 

For Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, the 2017/18 season of the Championship saw the team fight back from the brink of defeat to finish first overall, clinching the title by just two points in the final round. With a history in the series dating back to the very first Formula E race in Beijing in 2014, Audi Sport has competed in everything from the World Rally Championship and Pikes Peak, to Super Touring and GT racing. Completing the team’s driver lineup is Brazilian driver Lucas Di Grassi, the winner of the drivers championship in the 16/17 season and his German teammate Daniel Abt. 

Both drivers have been with the team since the first season. With a title to defend, the battle has just begun for the German manufacturer. 

 

BMW i Andretti Motorsport — Germany 

BMW has been a mainstay of Formula E since the championship’s inception. Alongside providing the entire fleet of safety and official cars, the German giant became a full manufacturer works team ahead of the 2018/19 season, when it partnered up with Andretti Autosport. 

The team fielded Antonio Felix da Costa and newcomer Alex Sims behind the wheel of its Gen2 challenger, the BMW iFE.18. Rounding off its first campaign as a works team with a 5th-place finish, the team signed former Dragon driver Max Guenther for the current season while retaining Sims.    

 

DS Techeetah — China 

After clinching the team championship title at the end of a grueling 2018/19 campaign, DS Techeetah is looking to scoop its second title with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa in this season. 

First entering into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the 2016/17 season, after taking over the entry previously held by Team Aguri, reigning champions Techeetah face their third campaign in the competition with Vergne and da Costa driving the DS E-Tense FE20. 

 

Envision Virgin Racing – UK 

Envision Virgin Racing has been competing in the championship since the inaugural season, and is one of two British teams (alongside Panasonic Jaguar Racing) in the series. Partnering with digital energy company Envision Group, Virgin Racing becomes Envision Virgin Racing for the 2018/19 season. Long-time Virgin driver Sam Bird and familiar Formula E face Robin Frijns complete the driver lineup for the season. 

 

Geox Dragon Racing — US 

Geox Dragon has been a mainstay of Formula E, competing in every race to date. Founded by Jay Penske in 2007, the outfit is the only all-American team on the grid, headquartered in Los Angeles, California — the largest single metropolitan electric vehicle market in the world — with additional operations at Silverstone in the UK. 

For Geox Dragon’s sixth season in the series, the team signed former Formula 1 and World Endurance Car Champion Brendon Hartley and former DTM runner-up and Formula E debutant Nico Muller. 

 

Mahindra Racing — India 

Mahindra Racing has competed in the championship since 2014. The team scored its breakthrough maiden win in the 2016/17 season, and in 2017/18 went on to score two more victories. For the 2018/19 season, the team was fronted by long-standing Formula E and former Dragon driver Jerome d’Ambrosio as well as rookie driver Pascal Wehrlein. 

After a strong season together, the pair remain in place for a second consecutive season, getting behind the wheel of the new M6Electro, which sports a powertrain developed in partnership with German engineering giant ZF. 

 

Mercedes-Benz EQ — Germany 

Mercedes-Benz EQ joins the grid for the curent season after transitioning from HWA Racelab. With 125 years of motorsport experience, the entry marks the beginning of a radical new chapter as it works toward an all-electric future. Behind the wheel of its new Gen2 challenger, the Silver Arrow 01, is Dutch reigning Formula 2 Champion Nyck de Vries and former Formula 1 driver, Stoffel Vandoorne. 

With a strong racing pedigree outside of Formula E, such as five constructor’s titles in the hybrid era of Formula 1 and seven driver titles, few names can claim to be more successful on the racing circuit. 

 

Nio 333 — UK/China 

The team is the racing arm of Chinese car maker NIO — makers of the record breaking EP9 hypercar, which set a new lap record of the Nurburgring in 2017. Nelson Piquet Jr. remained with the team for three seasons, partnered by Oliver Turvey. For the 2017/18 season, Italian IndyCar driver Luca Filippi replaced Piquet Jr. to partner Turvey. For the upcoming season, Turvey remains, and Ma Qing Hua has taken over from Filippi — the first Asian to participate at Diriyah. They pilot NIOs striking green and white Gen2 challenger. 

 

Nissan e.dams — Japan 

After announcing its arrival into Formula E in 2017, Nissan partnered with seasoned outfit e.dams (formally racing partner of French manufacturer Renault) to become Nissan e.dams. After finishing runner-up in the teams’ championship in its debut season, it will challenge for the title in the 2019/20 season. Nissan is the first Japanese manufacturer to enter the series and is a world leader in the design and manufacture of all-electric cars. 

Racing for the team is Formula E veteran and former champion Sebastien Buemi alongside British driver Oliver Rowland. 

 

Panasonic Jaguar Racing – UK 

The team heads into its third season with its new Gen2 Jaguar I-Type III. With one of the richest histories in motorsport of any manufacturer, dating back to 1948, the British car guant revived its motorsport program to showcase its range of electric cars with its entry into Formula E in 2016. The team calls on Mitch Evans and James Calado as the stars of their show.  

 

Tag Heuer Porsche — Germany 

After more than 30 years, Porsche returns to single-seater racing, making its debut in the 2019/20 season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. They are represented by Andre Loterrer and Neel Jani, and going up against fellow German car giants Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the series will see them race head-to-head for the first time in history. 

With one of the longest-standing track records in motorsport dating back to the 1950s, Porsche’s entry into Formula E is the latest step in the German manufacturer’s history. After its most recent success in endurance racing, including multiple victories in both LMP1 and GT categories, the brand turns to the all-electric racing series to ready the next generation of electric Porsche road cars. 

 

The 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship season will see two German giants — TAG Heuer Porsche and Mercedes-Benz EQ  — complete a full grid of 24 cars for the very first time in Formula E’s history, creating one of the most eagerly anticipated showdowns in motorsport.

 

In total, 12 teams from around the world are now focused on the Diriyah Circuit in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22 and 23. The track, created in the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the home of kings and heroes, is set for electrifying action, given that season 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship kicks off with a doubleheader of back-to-back races. Here we meet the teams that will be fighting for glory. 

 

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler — Germany 

For Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, the 2017/18 season of the Championship saw the team fight back from the brink of defeat to finish first overall, clinching the title by just two points in the final round. With a history in the series dating back to the very first Formula E race in Beijing in 2014, Audi Sport has competed in everything from the World Rally Championship and Pikes Peak, to Super Touring and GT racing. Completing the team’s driver lineup is Brazilian driver Lucas Di Grassi, the winner of the drivers championship in the 16/17 season and his German teammate Daniel Abt. 

Both drivers have been with the team since the first season. With a title to defend, the battle has just begun for the German manufacturer. 

BMW i Andretti Motorsport — Germany 

BMW has been a mainstay of Formula E since the championship’s inception. Alongside providing the entire fleet of safety and official cars, the German giant became a full manufacturer works team ahead of the 2018/19 season, when it partnered up with Andretti Autosport. 

The team fielded Antonio Felix da Costa and newcomer Alex Sims behind the wheel of its Gen2 challenger, the BMW iFE.18. Rounding off its first campaign as a works team with a 5th-place finish, the team signed former Dragon driver Max Guenther for the current season while retaining Sims.    

 

DS Techeetah — China 

After clinching the team championship title at the end of a grueling 2018/19 campaign, DS Techeetah is looking to scoop its second title with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa in this season. 

First entering into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the 2016/17 season, after taking over the entry previously held by Team Aguri, reigning champions Techeetah face their third campaign in the competition with Vergne and da Costa driving the DS E-Tense FE20. 

 

Envision VirginRacing – UK 

Envision Virgin Racing has been competing in the championship since the inaugural season, and is one of two British teams (alongside Panasonic Jaguar Racing) in the series. Partnering with digital energy company Envision Group, Virgin Racing becomes Envision Virgin Racing for the 2018/19 season. Long-time Virgin driver Sam Bird and familiar Formula E face Robin Frijns complete the driver lineup for the season. 

 

Geox Dragon Racing — US 

Geox Dragon has been a mainstay of Formula E, competing in every race to date. Founded by Jay Penske in 2007, the outfit is the only all-American team on the grid, headquartered in Los Angeles, California — the largest single metropolitan electric vehicle market in the world — with additional operations at Silverstone in the UK. 

For Geox Dragon’s sixth season in the series, the team signed former Formula 1 and World Endurance Car Champion Brendon Hartley and former DTM runner-up and Formula E debutant Nico Muller. 

Mahindra Racing — India 

Mahindra Racing has competed in the championship since 2014. The team scored its breakthrough maiden win in the 2016/17 season, and in 2017/18 went on to score two more victories. For the 2018/19 season, the team was fronted by long-standing Formula E and former Dragon driver Jerome d’Ambrosio as well as rookie driver Pascal Wehrlein. 

After a strong season together, the pair remain in place for a second consecutive season, getting behind the wheel of the new M6Electro, which sports a powertrain developed in partnership with German engineering giant ZF. 

 

Mercedes-Benz EQ — Germany 

Mercedes-Benz EQ joins the grid for the curent season after transitioning from HWA Racelab. With 125 years of motorsport experience, the entry marks the beginning of a radical new chapter as it works toward an all-electric future. Behind the wheel of its new Gen2 challenger, the Silver Arrow 01, is Dutch reigning Formula 2 Champion Nyck de Vries and former Formula 1 driver, Stoffel Vandoorne. 

With a strong racing pedigree outside of Formula E, such as five constructor’s titles in the hybrid era of Formula 1 and seven driver titles, few names can claim to be more successful on the racing circuit. 

 

Nio 333 — UK/China 

The team is the racing arm of Chinese car maker NIO — makers of the record breaking EP9 hypercar, which set a new lap record of the Nurburgring in 2017. Nelson Piquet Jr. remained with the team for three seasons, partnered by Oliver Turvey. For the 2017/18 season, Italian IndyCar driver Luca Filippi replaced Piquet Jr. to partner Turvey. For the upcoming season, Turvey remains, and Ma Qing Hua has taken over from Filippi — the first Asian to participate at Diriyah. They pilot NIOs striking green and white Gen2 challenger. 

 

Nissan e.dams — Japan 

After announcing its arrival into Formula E in 2017, Nissan partnered with seasoned outfit e.dams (formally racing partner of French manufacturer Renault) to become Nissan e.dams. After finishing runner-up in the teams’ championship in its debut season, it will challenge for the title in the 2019/20 season. Nissan is the first Japanese manufacturer to enter the series and is a world leader in the design and manufacture of all-electric cars. 

Racing for the team is Formula E veteran and former champion Sebastien Buemi alongside British driver Oliver Rowland. 

 

Panasonic JaguarRacing – UK 

The team heads into its third season with its new Gen2 Jaguar I-Type III. With one of the richest histories in motorsport of any manufacturer, dating back to 1948, the British car guant revived its motorsport program to showcase its range of electric cars with its entry into Formula E in 2016. The team calls on Mitch Evans and James Calado as the stars of their show.  

 

Tag Heuer Porsche — Germany 

After more than 30 years, Porsche returns to single-seater racing, making its debut in the 2019/20 season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. They are represented by Andre Loterrer and Neel Jani, and going up against fellow German car giants Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the series will see them race head-to-head for the first time in history. 

With one of the longest-standing track records in motorsport dating back to the 1950s, Porsche’s entry into Formula E is the latest step in the German manufacturer’s history. After its most recent success in endurance racing, including multiple victories in both LMP1 and GT categories, the brand turns to the all-electric racing series to ready the next generation of electric Porsche road cars. 

 

Venturi Racing — Monaco 

With a history in Formula E dating back to the very first race, the Monaco-based team clinched its first win in the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix. The electric car maker also holds the electric land-speed record, set with the VBB-3 “bullet car” in 2016. 

Ahead of the 2018/19 season, the team drafted in former racing driver Susie Wolff as team principal and ex-Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa. 

The Brazilian joined Formula E veteran Edoardo Mortara to complete the team’s line up which remains unchanged ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. Now embarking on its 6th season in the all-electric racing series, Venturi revealed it would be partnering with Mercedes-Benz EQ to adopt its powertrain — the Silver Arrow 01 — alongside its cooling system, rear frame, rear suspension, dampers, software, onboard electronics and wiring looms. 

With a history in Formula E dating back to the very first race, the Monaco-based team clinched its first win in the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix. The electric car maker also holds the electric land-speed record, set with the VBB-3 “bullet car” in 2016. 

Ahead of the 2018/19 season, the team drafted in former racing driver Susie Wolff as team principal and ex-Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa. 

The Brazilian joined Formula E veteran Edoardo Mortara to complete the team’s line up which remains unchanged ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. Now embarking on its 6th season in the all-electric racing series, Venturi revealed it would be partnering with Mercedes-Benz EQ to adopt its powertrain — the Silver Arrow 01 — alongside its cooling system, rear frame, rear suspension, dampers, software, onboard electronics and wiring looms. 

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Daniil Medvedev wins inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup final in Saudi Arabia

HALF MOON BAY, Eastern Province: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi scored an emphatic victory in the third stage of the Sharqiya Baja when he carded the quickest time, in spite of a change in the overnight timings that had put him three seconds behind his Spanish rival Carlos Sainz. Al-Rajhi and co-driver Michael Orr guided their Toyota…

Daniil Medvedev wins inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup final in Saudi Arabia

HALF MOON BAY, Eastern Province: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi scored an emphatic victory in the third stage of the Sharqiya Baja when he carded the quickest time, in spite of a change in the overnight timings that had put him three seconds behind his Spanish rival Carlos Sainz.

Al-Rajhi and co-driver Michael Orr guided their Toyota Hilux to a time of 1hr 08min 56sec on the 171.25km stage, which was enough to seal a winning margin of 1min 17sec and confirm the Saudi Toyota Desert Championship title in superb style.

Sainz had been handed the outright lead on Friday evening by Baja officials after a three-minute timing discrepancy for Al-Rajhi was corrected and he slipped to second overall. Numerous other competitors saw their times for the stage changed and Mishal Alghuneim found himself leading the motorcycle category.

“It is a nice feeling to win the new Baja and the new Saudi Toyota Desert Championship,” said Al-Rajhi. “It has been an enjoyable few weeks competing here and it has given us a chance to prepare well for the Dakar Rally, which is coming up very quickly.”

Sainz and fellow Spaniard Lucas Cruz used the last round of the new Saudi series as a useful shakedown for the Dakar Rally in January and pushed the winners all the way across the deserts of the Eastern Province in their X–raid MINI JCW Buggy.

They finished 8min 54sec in front of third-placed Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, the Peugeot 2008 driver, who overhauled ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari to snatch the final podium spot on the last day.

List of the top 10 finishers in the car race. (Sharqiyah Baja 2019 website)

Sainz said: “I am generally happy with the shakedown and the test. I think it was good to have a taste of the temperature and learn a little bit about what we are going to find in a couple of weeks. Regarding today, after what happened yesterday (Yasir’s crash), I took it very easily because this is our race car and it was not the moment to take any risks. I am happy we learned things with the car, even if the conditions were not the best, especially with the rain yesterday. No problems. Everything was positive.”

Following Yasir Seaidan’s retirement after his high-speed roll on Friday, Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal was left to finish the event in an unchallenged fifth with his Ford F-150 Evo.

Zapletal finished over 42 minutes in front of sixth-placed Farhan Al-Muharib, who clinched a 2min 57sec win over Khalid Al-Hamzani in a Nissan-dominated T2 section for series production cross-country vehicles. Hamzani also finished in seventh overall, while Yousef Al-Suwaidi was eighth and third in T2.

Omar Allahim was classified in ninth in his Nissan Patrol. Saleh Al-Saif lost over 10 minutes in the final stage, but still managed to round off the top 10 and seal the win in the T3 category with a Can-Am after nearest rival Conrad Rautenbach of Zimbabwe ceded over an hour in the day’s stage and slipped to 20th overall in his PH Sport Can-Am Zephyr.

Yousef Al-Dhaif had already sealed the Saudi NUTV Championship before the final round and the Can-Am driver wrapped up a successful campaign with another category win. Second place for Majed Al-Tuwaijri ensured that he finished as series runner-up at the expense of Fahad Al-Naim.

Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb completed their pre-Dakar Rally preparations with a solid finish in a T4 Mercedes.

Mishal Alghuneim maintained the advantage in the motorcycle category that he had been awarded when a timing error was corrected and the KTM rider held on to seal a winning margin of 6min 14sec over Haysham Al-Haysham.

Anas Al-Ruhyni finished third, but Emirati rider Othman Al-Ghufeli retired on the stage.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi confirmed victory in the Saudi Quad Championship with a third victory of the season to follow his successes at the Qassim and AlUla-Neom rallies.

The Yamaha rider finished an unofficial fourth on the stage, but did enough to see off the challenge of runner-up and main series rival Riyadh Al-Oraifan. Sufiyan Al-Omar came in third after incurring a five-minute time penalty.

The event was organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and the supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

The new Baja enjoyed the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

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Al-Hilal knock out Africa’s Esperance de Tunis in FIFA Club World Cup

HALF MOON BAY, Eastern Province: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi scored an emphatic victory in the third stage of the Sharqiya Baja when he carded the quickest time, in spite of a change in the overnight timings that had put him three seconds behind his Spanish rival Carlos Sainz. Al-Rajhi and co-driver Michael Orr guided their Toyota…

Al-Hilal knock out Africa’s Esperance de Tunis in FIFA Club World Cup

HALF MOON BAY, Eastern Province: Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi scored an emphatic victory in the third stage of the Sharqiya Baja when he carded the quickest time, in spite of a change in the overnight timings that had put him three seconds behind his Spanish rival Carlos Sainz.

Al-Rajhi and co-driver Michael Orr guided their Toyota Hilux to a time of 1hr 08min 56sec on the 171.25km stage, which was enough to seal a winning margin of 1min 17sec and confirm the Saudi Toyota Desert Championship title in superb style.

Sainz had been handed the outright lead on Friday evening by Baja officials after a three-minute timing discrepancy for Al-Rajhi was corrected and he slipped to second overall. Numerous other competitors saw their times for the stage changed and Mishal Alghuneim found himself leading the motorcycle category.

“It is a nice feeling to win the new Baja and the new Saudi Toyota Desert Championship,” said Al-Rajhi. “It has been an enjoyable few weeks competing here and it has given us a chance to prepare well for the Dakar Rally, which is coming up very quickly.”

Sainz and fellow Spaniard Lucas Cruz used the last round of the new Saudi series as a useful shakedown for the Dakar Rally in January and pushed the winners all the way across the deserts of the Eastern Province in their X–raid MINI JCW Buggy.

They finished 8min 54sec in front of third-placed Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, the Peugeot 2008 driver, who overhauled ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari to snatch the final podium spot on the last day.

List of the top 10 finishers in the car race. (Sharqiyah Baja 2019 website)

Sainz said: “I am generally happy with the shakedown and the test. I think it was good to have a taste of the temperature and learn a little bit about what we are going to find in a couple of weeks. Regarding today, after what happened yesterday (Yasir’s crash), I took it very easily because this is our race car and it was not the moment to take any risks. I am happy we learned things with the car, even if the conditions were not the best, especially with the rain yesterday. No problems. Everything was positive.”

Following Yasir Seaidan’s retirement after his high-speed roll on Friday, Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal was left to finish the event in an unchallenged fifth with his Ford F-150 Evo.

Zapletal finished over 42 minutes in front of sixth-placed Farhan Al-Muharib, who clinched a 2min 57sec win over Khalid Al-Hamzani in a Nissan-dominated T2 section for series production cross-country vehicles. Hamzani also finished in seventh overall, while Yousef Al-Suwaidi was eighth and third in T2.

Omar Allahim was classified in ninth in his Nissan Patrol. Saleh Al-Saif lost over 10 minutes in the final stage, but still managed to round off the top 10 and seal the win in the T3 category with a Can-Am after nearest rival Conrad Rautenbach of Zimbabwe ceded over an hour in the day’s stage and slipped to 20th overall in his PH Sport Can-Am Zephyr.

Yousef Al-Dhaif had already sealed the Saudi NUTV Championship before the final round and the Can-Am driver wrapped up a successful campaign with another category win. Second place for Majed Al-Tuwaijri ensured that he finished as series runner-up at the expense of Fahad Al-Naim.

Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb completed their pre-Dakar Rally preparations with a solid finish in a T4 Mercedes.

Mishal Alghuneim maintained the advantage in the motorcycle category that he had been awarded when a timing error was corrected and the KTM rider held on to seal a winning margin of 6min 14sec over Haysham Al-Haysham.

Anas Al-Ruhyni finished third, but Emirati rider Othman Al-Ghufeli retired on the stage.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi confirmed victory in the Saudi Quad Championship with a third victory of the season to follow his successes at the Qassim and AlUla-Neom rallies.

The Yamaha rider finished an unofficial fourth on the stage, but did enough to see off the challenge of runner-up and main series rival Riyadh Al-Oraifan. Sufiyan Al-Omar came in third after incurring a five-minute time penalty.

The event was organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and the supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab.

The new Baja enjoyed the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sport Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

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Saudi women ride into history with ‘dream’ home debut

RIYADH: There are only three weeks to go until Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 starts in Jeddah. It will be the first time this adventurous race comes to Asia, where Saudi Arabia’s desert will play host to the 7,500-km-long rally over 13 days of action and 12 stages of challenging navigation. Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the…

Saudi women ride into history with ‘dream’ home debut

RIYADH: There are only three weeks to go until Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 starts in Jeddah.

It will be the first time this adventurous race comes to Asia, where Saudi Arabia’s desert will play host to the 7,500-km-long rally over 13 days of action and 12 stages of challenging navigation.

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

“We were really excited by the beautiful landscape. The deserts were exactly what we expected with their dunes, nice mountains and small canyons. We have some stages along the sea also, so it will be a mixed landscape, which is very interesting,” 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel said.

“Saudi Arabia is a big country, so there are a lot of possibilities. It has many deserts, which makes it the perfect place to organize Dakar,” the French driver added.

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 gets underway in Jeddah before drivers and crews navigate their way through the winding dunes for 752 km.

The challenge will continue up north along the coast for nearly 900 km through the Red Sea Project until the futuristic megacity of Neom, where the journey will reach its highest point at an altitude of 1,400 meters amid a series of canyons and mountains.

FASTFACT

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

More than 550 drivers from 62 countries will participate in the 12-stage race, which runs from Jan. 5-17. 

 

A combination of sandy stretches and gravel await Dakar’s thrill-seeking competitors as they cruise through the next 676 km from Neom to AlUla in Dakar’s fourth stage, before the sandy hills of Hail put the navigation skills of competitors to the test as they descend south onto Riyadh.

A rest day in the capital will be followed by Dakar Saudi Arabia’s longest stage — 741 km — as the route takes a turn west to the center of the Kingdom’s enormous desert.

The course will then loop back toward Haradh in the eastern governorate of Al-Ahsa, marking the entrance to the Empty Quarter and building up to the grand finale in the future entertainment, sports and cultural destination of Qiddiya, where the winner will be crowned on the final podium.

The race will take place from January 5 to 17. (Supplied)

“Saudi Arabia is a very big country, and you can find almost every type of terrain in it,” Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi said.

Spanish rally driver Carlos Sainz added: “I think everyone finds it very exciting. It seems to be really what Dakar needs, and we are hoping to enjoy it and have a good race.”

The Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles officially confirmed route details of the rally at an international press conference in Paris. 

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will see pilots drive specially modified vehicles, trucks, quads, SxS (four-wheel drive, off-road vehicles) and motorbikes, designed to handle the 12 stages of the varied, challenging terrains.

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