|02 January, 2020

Bahrain sponsors X-raid rally team to join Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia

The 2020 edition of the rally also marks a milestone for the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia becoming the first country in the region to play host to the challenge

 X-Raid's driver Orlando Terranova and co-driver Bernardo Graue drive over a sand dune during Stage 2 from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona at the 2019 Peru Dakar Rally, in Pisco, Peru, January 8, 2019. Reuters Photographer Carlos Jasso: "The Dakar Rally is a race like no other, a two-week long endurance challenge across Peru in some of the harshest terrain and conditions on Earth. The event spanned thousands of kilometres with motorcycles, cars and trucks racing across vast deserts and towering dunes, from the Andes to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. As a photographer, I had good access with the helicopter. I wore a harness attached to the helicopter, with the door open in order to shoot. I like the abstract images best -- the detail created by a motorcycle accelerating, the sand thrown up and combined with beautiful light so that it looks almost like a wave. You must have the camera exposures pre-set to be ready for the action, but the light is constantly shifting as clouds move across the sky. You point the camera and expose for the highlights and hope the vehicle comes into the frame and drives between the shadows of the clouds. You start reading the dunes ahead of reaching them. 'Now it?s beautiful golden light, I?m going to shoot a landscape.' Or 'Now there are great shadows, I?m going to play with that.' Everything can change so quickly. Every choice you make is a gamble - the exposure you set, the dune you choose to climb." REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

X-Raid's driver Orlando Terranova and co-driver Bernardo Graue drive over a sand dune during Stage 2 from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona at the 2019 Peru Dakar Rally, in Pisco, Peru, January 8, 2019. Reuters Photographer Carlos Jasso: "The Dakar Rally is a race like no other, a two-week long endurance challenge across Peru in some of the harshest terrain and conditions on Earth. The event spanned thousands of kilometres with motorcycles, cars and trucks racing across vast deserts and towering dunes, from the Andes to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. As a photographer, I had good access with the helicopter. I wore a harness attached to the helicopter, with the door open in order to shoot. I like the abstract images best -- the detail created by a motorcycle accelerating, the sand thrown up and combined with beautiful light so that it looks almost like a wave. You must have the camera exposures pre-set to be ready for the action, but the light is constantly shifting as clouds move across the sky. You point the camera and expose for the highlights and hope the vehicle comes into the frame and drives between the shadows of the clouds. You start reading the dunes ahead of reaching them. 'Now it?s beautiful golden light, I?m going to shoot a landscape.' Or 'Now there are great shadows, I?m going to play with that.' Everything can change so quickly. Every choice you make is a gamble - the exposure you set, the dune you choose to climb." REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MANAMA — Bahrain announced its participation in the Dakar Rally, to be held in Saudi Arabia from Jan. 5 to 17.

The first rally in the Middle East will see victorious X-raid team racing for Bahrain in their first self-developed and constructed Mini John Cooper Works and Mini John Cooper Works Buggy.

The Bahrain team will include champion drivers Stephane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz and co-drivers Lucas Cruz and Paulo Fi?za.

The 2020 edition of the rally also marks a milestone for the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia becoming the first country in the region to play host to the challenge, gaining the right to hold it for the next five years.

The 13-day off-road race that was founded on a love of desert driving will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations contest in 12 stages while exploring the vast and formidable desert terrains of the largest country in the region.

Sheikh Abdulla Bin Isa Al Khalifa, president of Bahrain’s Motor Federation, said: “This is as much a moment of pride for Bahrain, as it is for our region. Our participation shows Bahrain’s advances in the motorsports world, inspired no doubt by Bahrain’s pioneering move to host the Formula One Grand Prix since 2004.”

“An event of such global magnitude presented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a monumental opportunity to showcase its unique natural landscape, as well as its keenness and enthusiasm to bring global sporting events to the country and the region.”

Sven Quandt, owner of the German motorsport team X-raid, a specialist in cross-country rallying, which will be taking part in the rally explained: “This is a big achievement for Bahrain, which is already making its presence felt on global stage. The country’s participation adds another dimension to its vision to be a nation that hosts, supports, organizes, develops and participates in the success of the global sports movement.”

The rally will be flagged off in Jeddah and conclude in the capital, Riyadh, covering 7,500 kilometers. The route will pass through some of the vital and most picturesque destinations in Saudi Arabia, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of AlUla in the north-west; Tabuk region in the north-east, which is home to the futuristic Neom-city project; the ancient Hail region; and Wadi Al Dawasir in Najd province, which is being developed in the middle of the desert as a new urban center.

The Dakar Rally is the latest in a series of sporting events to be hosted in Saudi Arabia, with both Race of Champions (ROC) and Formula E hosting rounds having been held in Riyadh, apart from the FIA-backed Middle East Rally Championship.

The Dakar Rally, an annual event which was first launched in Paris 1979, ran from Europe to the Senegalese city it is named after for decades, then moved to South America in 2009, where it remained until now.

 

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