Saudi Arabia arrives

Saudi Arabia arrives

While the Middle East has been absent from the WRC calendar since 2011, the FIA ​​formalized this Saturday the signing of a ten-year contract with Saudi Arabia for the organization of a round of the championship from next season.

Saudi Arabia continues to weave its web. While it already hosts the Dakar, Formula 1 and Formula E, the Wahhabi kingdom will add a string to its bow in terms of motor sports. Indeed, through a press release, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has formalized an agreement which will see a round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) be organized on Saudi territory from the 2025 season and for a period of ten years.

This arrival of Saudi Arabia, which has yet to be confirmed by the World Motor Sport Council, will see the WRC return to the Middle East for the first time since the 2011 season, the fourth round of which took place in Jordan. At the time, Sébastien Ogier won by two tenths of a second against Jari-Matti Latvala when Sébastien Loeb completed the podium en route to his eighth world title. The FIA ​​specifies that the future Saudi Arabia rally “promises to highlight the diverse and difficult landscapes” of the country.

“Very different challenges” promised to pilots

The federation also mentions “surfaces ranging from volcanic rock to sandy desert terrain” in order to offer “a new test for crews in conditions never before encountered in the history of the WRC”. FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the signing of this contract is “a great moment for motorsport in the Middle East” and that this new event will be “an excellent opportunity for national and regional drivers to showcase their talents. on the world stage.

For his part, WRC Promoter Managing Director Jona Siebel assured that “each day will offer drivers very different challenges and will showcase everything Saudi Arabia has to offer, from cityscapes to desert and mountains to ocean.” Now that the broad outlines have been drawn, it remains to be seen what the exact route of the event will be and when it will be organized next season. While the WRC remains interested in North America, it is towards the Middle East that the discipline will turn.

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