Dubai International Rally receives boost as candidate for World Cup

The Dubai International Rally is aiming to join the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies and the FIM Baja World Cup in 2017, organisers the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), have announced.

The ATCUAE is aiming for more visibility of the event, which has been a part of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship for the past 37 years and is the oldest motorsport events in the UAE. This move is expected to bring in more quality and quantity, in terms of competitors from all over the world.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the ATCUAE, expressed his gratitude to the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“We would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for the great support and trust in our capability to elevate the Dubai International Rally to a global level. We would also like to thank Dubai Sport Council for their continuous collaboration and support”, said Ben Sulayem.

The ATCUAE President also thanked Jean Todt, President of the FIA, for the support received from motorsport’s governing body.

The new format will rank Dubai alongside International Cross Country Rallies and Bajas from around the world, including established events in countries like Russia, Italy, Spain and Poland, and caters to a growing demand for off road events across the Gulf region. For the first time in its long history, the evnt will also be open to offroad motorcycles and quads competing in the FIM Baja World Cup.

Ben Sulayem also expressed hope in developing the event in such a way that it would bring more appeal to Dubai and the UAE as a tourism and sport destination.

“Based on our long experience in organizing world level events over the last years, we aim to take Dubai International Rally to the same level in terms of organization and participation. A new responsibility is now added on our shoulders, and the organization of the candidate event will be a new test for us,” Ben Sulayem concluded.

The Dubai International Rally will include categories for cars, buggies, motorbikes, and quads. To secure its place in the FIA World Cup, provisionally scheduled for the 9th to 11th March 2017, the ATCUAE will organize a non-championship candidate event on Friday 9th December 2016, which will be assessed by the FIA to confirm the high standard of organization and safety that the ATCUAE have delveloped though running the famous Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for many years.

The Dubai International Rally was formed in 1984 and has been a part of every edition of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship. ATCUAE president Ben Sulayem, is the most successful driver in the rally with 15 wins, from 1985 to 2002.