UAE SET TO LAUNCH CLASSIC RALLY FOR VINTAGE CARS
Rally Al Khaleej will send classic vehicles from the last century on a spectacular exploration of the Emirates
Dubai, UAE, 17th February, 2005: Classic car enthusiasts from Europe and the Middle East will embark on a fascinating two-week exploration of the UAE next month with the first edition of the Rally Al Khaleej, a unique addition to the regional motor sport calendar.
Taking place under the patronage of Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's Minister of Interior, the 1,200-km event will see vintage cars from the last century competing in a spectacular series of special stages and speed tests over the length and breadth of the country.
Starting and finishing in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East's first fully-fledged classic car rally will feature an expected line-up of 40 drivers and some of the world's most celebrated classic cars from around 15 countries, including the UAE and its neighbouring Gulf states, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Jordan, Lebanon, and South Africa.
Organised by Abu Dhabi-based ARGER Event and Conference Management and sponsored by Siemens, the Rally Al Khaleej will showcase much of the historical, cultural, natural and modern assets which combine to make the UAE a unique travel destination.
The event is being organised with the support of the UAE Government, with special assistance from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, the Fujairah Tourism Bureau, the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE and the Emirates Motor Sports Federation.
Khalifa Ulrich, Managing Partner of ARGER Event and Conference Management, said: "This is a unique event in a number of ways, not least because it's the first rally of its kind to be staged in the region, and it will open an exciting new chapter for classic car motor sport as a whole while feeding a growing interest in classic cars in the Middle East."
Added Ulrich: "It provides a demanding driving challenge for participants, and at the same time will allow them, and those who follow the event via the media or their own means, to experience the rich heritage and beauty that the UAE has to offer.
"We are indebted to the UAE Government and the various local authorities in the UAE for their support, and particularly grateful to Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his patronage and encouragement."
Enthusiasts can tackle the entire rally, or one or more of its special events, and details can be found on the official website at www.rally-al-khaleej.com
Classic cars originating from the most romantic days of motoring long past will assemble in Abu Dhabi on March 14 in readiness for a frenetic and imaginative competitive programme beginning the next day with a city race on closed areas in the UAE capital.
Over the ensuing ten days the rally stretches out over a long and winding trail across the UAE, treating enthusiasts and the general public to a ringside seat as it takes the cars through the streets of many cities and towns. The route links Abu Dhabi with the oasis town of Liwa, the garden city and cultural centre of Al Ain, Fujairah with its ancient forts and archaeological sites, Hatta at the foot of the rugged Hajjar mountains, and the regional business, sport and leisure hub of Dubai.
Other special events with particular spectator appeal include a two-day car festival in Al Ain on March 17-18, with the contrast of a classic car parade next to a pulsating head-to-head city centre speed test for local private owners of modern high performance racing machines.
The festival also features an 11-km hill climb up the UAE's 1350-metre highest mountain, Jebel Hafeet, before the action moves on to the Dubai Autodrome, a superb new international motor sport venue, for a two-day Vintage Grand Prix on March 23-24.
The final two special stages on March 25 take the cars from Dubai to Abu Dhabi where the event concludes the following day with a Gala Dinner and prize giving at the magnificent Emirates Palace Hotel.