After over three decades of unflinching support from
the Dubai Ruler’s Court, the Dubai International Rally will celebrate its 31st
anniversary when the latest edition will be held over the upcoming National Day
weekend (December 3-5 2009).
FIA Vice President and President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE
(ATCUAE) Mohammed Ben Sulayem today reiterated that the event will remain a key
fixture on the UAE’s expanding motor sport calendar.
The traditional last round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship will celebrate
its 31st anniversary at a time when motor sport in the UAE entered a new era, with
Abu Dhabi wowing the world with the successful staging of the inaugural Formula 1™
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 1.
“Ever since the Dubai International Rally was launched in 1978, the event has
enjoyed vital support from the Dubai Ruler’s Court,” said Sulayem. “Thanks to the
Government of Dubai, it has set the standard for FIA Middle East Championship
rallying over the years, and is now the longest running international sporting event
in the UAE.
“The motor sport scene here has changed dramatically in recent years and there are
so many new events and disciplines now. But the Dubai International Rally is an
important part of our sporting history and will always be one of our flagship
events,” Sulayem added.
The last of seven rounds in this year’s FIA Middle East Championship will take place
from December 3-5 under the patronage of HH Sheikh Majed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al
"The Dubai Rally title is one of the biggest prizes in Middle East rallying," said
Sulayem, adding: “This is the first major motorsport event since the Formula 1™
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The rally will provide competitors with a
thrilling mix of motorsport action, especially the showdown to decide the Pirelli
Star Driver for the Middle East.”
Sulayem explained that the Pirelli Star Driver programme selects five talented young
drivers from around the world to drive in a series of six FIA World Rally
Championship events. The programme is designed to find the most talented and
promising young drivers from the FIA regional championships in Africa, Asia Pacific,
Europe and the Middle East.
The Dubai Rally will round off an eventful year for Sulayem and the ATCUAE, which is
the sole official representative in the UAE of the FIA, the world governing body of
motor sport, and its motorcycle and classic car counterparts, the FIM and FIVA.
After staging a highly successful 19th edition of the rebranded Abu Dhabi Desert
Challenge, earlier in March this year, Sulayem was re-elected as FIA Vice President,
just days ahead of the inaugural Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sulayem took the helm of the ATCUAE in 2006 at a time when just 90 competitors in
the UAE held official licenses to compete in motor sport, with less than 20 official
events staged per year. Today, the ATCUAE has more than 1,300 licensed competitors,
and oversees a calendar in excess of 140 events.
Further details of the rally will be released in the coming days.
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