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Al-Rajhi returns to Rally Jeddah, entries close on Nov. 13
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 11 - 2016

JEDDAH — With just over a week to go before entries close for this year's Rally Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's leading rally star Yazeed Al-Rajhi is one of 30 competitors from seven nations to so far confirm their intention of taking part in the two-day event on Nov. 17-18.
The rally is sponsored by Mohamed Yousef Naghi Motors (MYN Motors) — Land Rover — the official car of the rally, which will also supply the official course opening car and additional vehicles for officials. Additional support and extensive planned media coverage comes from the MBC Group, while Al-Arabia advertising has planned marketing campaigns and Al-Madina newspaper and Total Oils offer further support to the candidate event for the 2017 Gulf Challenge.
Al-Rajhi from Riyadh won the inaugural rally with French navigator Alex Winocq in 2014 and returned last year to dominate with regular German co-driver Timo Gottschalk, with whom he has tackled select events in this year's FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.
Rally officials are expecting several other teams to enter the event as the deadline looms, but Al-Rajhi has already been joined on the entry list by a long list of Saudi Arabian drivers, including the experienced former MERC driver Ahmed Al-Sabban, previous Ha'il Rally winner Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, last year's T2 winner Monif Al-Salmani, Mohammed and Ahmed Al-Malki, Ahmed Al-Gashami, Saleh Al-Abdulali, Rajeh Farhan Al-Shammeri Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri and Motab Saud Al-Shammeri.
Al-Rajhi will be partnered by Gottschalk again in two weeks' time, as he aims to claim a hat trick of wins across the Kingdom's western deserts. "Taking part in rallies in my home country is special and I would not miss this event for the world," said Al-Rajhi.
"It now has a regular place in the FIA regional motor sporting calendar and I am looking forward to taking part again. The popularity of the event can be seen by the number of local drivers who have already entered the rally."
The entry list so far shows competitors entered in both the FIA T1 and T2 categories from seven nations: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, France, Russia and Germany.
Two all-Kuwaiti teams have entered Rally Jeddah well ahead of the final deadline. Salem and Fares Al-Thafiri will take part, while FIA Middle East Rally Championship regulars, Meshari and Mubarak Al-Thafiri, have a second car at their disposal for a first attempt at the Saudi event in the T1 category.
Rally Jeddah is being organized by the Jeddah Governorate and Abdullah S. Bakhashab Establishment under the supervision of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) and the patronage of Prince Mishaal Bin Majid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of Jeddah, and head of Rally Jeddah's higher organizing committee.
Other members of the committee include Prince Sultan Bin Bandar Al-Faisal, president of the SAMF, Dr. Hani Mohammed Aburas and Major General Abdullah Mohamed Al-Qahtani.
Elie Semaan has been appointed as the clerk of the course and will work closely alongside his deputy Ahmed Mutabaghani, who is also in charge of the modified route for this year's event, which includes a timed selective section of around 220km in a day's route of 378km.
Entries close on Nov. 13. For further information, contact Abdullah Bakhashab, Abdullah S. M. Bakhashab Est. Trading and Marketing Services, P.O. Box 16263, Jeddah 21464, Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 966 12 6513574, Fax: + 966 12 6520310, E-mail: [email protected],

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