|Ha´il Saudi Baja: SA Motor Federation puts finishing touches to 2012 Baja.|
The Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) is putting the finishing touches to the Saudi Arabia Ha’il Desert Challenge, an FIA-sanctioned cross-country event which will take place in the north-central region of the Kingdom from March 20-23.
Clerk of the course Elie Semaan has confirmed that the French company ERTF have been appointed to look after all safety matters in relation to the Sentinel system and on-event tracking, while the Italian company Sporttraxx will manage event timing under the watchful eye of Wolfgang Schindele.
The SAMF has finalised the complex measures needed to ensure the safety of all competitors, with Semaan admitting that the organising team has paid special attention to police support, the recruitment of medical staff and doctors and the use of FIVs and ambulances.
The road book has been finalised by Semaan with support from Hungarian consultant Laci Polgar and the SAMF is now receiving entries for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s premier off-road motor sport event, which will run under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Bin Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz.
"We expect the bulk of entries to come from Saudi Arabia and the GCC," admitted Semaan. "Yazeed Al-Rajhi has also confirmed that he will take a rest from his programme in the FIA World Rally Championship to take part in the event again.
Al-Rajhi won the event with Matthieu Baumel in a Mitsubishi Racing Lancer in 2010 and with a Overdrive Nissan Navara in 2009 and will drive a Nissan again in 2012 with Ulster co-driver Michael Orr co-driving on his first Baja. Orr was a regular navigator for the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi before switching to partner the Saudi this season.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah thrashed the opposition last season in a factory Volkswagen Race Touareg, just weeks after winning the Dakar Rally for the German team.
The SAMF is also expecting entries from the likes of the UAE’s Yayha Al-Helai, his son Mansoor Al-Helai, Qatar’s Sheikh Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani and a two-car Toyota FJ Cruiser team from former FIA Middle East rally champion Abdullah Bakhashab. It looks likely that Saleh Al-Saleh will drive one of the Toyotas and Portugal’s Carlos Sousa and Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi have been linked to the seat in the second Proto model.
Administration and scrutineering will take place on Tuesday, March 20th at the Maghwat Conference Centre on the outskirts of Ha’il. Teams will then tackle a timed super special stage on Wednesday, March 21st and the two days of action through the An Nafud desert on Thursday, March 22nd and Friday, March 23rd.
Further information is available from the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, PO Box 87881, Riyadh 11652, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 9661 477 1034/5, Fax: + 9661 477 1050, E-mail: [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] or Elie Semaan, clerk of the course and technical advisor, E-mail: [ email@example.com ].
2012/03/12 | 17:57 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS/PERKINS