Trucks permitted to race in Hail Rally

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By Neil Perkins

HAIL — Officials at the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) have completed their detailed reconnaissance of the route for the forthcoming Hail Nissan International Rally. The 14th running of the first FIA-sanctioned event of 2019 gets underway on Dec. 28 and finishes on Jan. 1.

While both the technical and security committees fine-tune the road books for the Qureen Anz, Baqaa, Al-Rudifah and Al-Ghazala selective sections in the An Nafud desert, trucks entered in the FIA T4 category will be permitted to join cars in T1, T2 and T3 and motorcycles and quads in the Kingdom’s premier off-road event.

The event’s deputy technical director Hamoud Al-Jabry confirmed that crews would tackle 1,272 competitive kilometers over the four race days. “The recent rains have changed the shape of the tracks and made it difficult to define the new route, so we needed to go out there and make all the modifications.”

Race officials have confirmed that 30 entries have so far been received and seven of those are from the UAE, in addition to a first ever race truck entered in T4.

Trucks rarely take part in events in the Middle East, which is unusual bearing in mind the quality and abundance of superb terrain for desert racing.

The official Kamaz factory team from the Republic of Tatarstan was a regular visitor to the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for many years, but trucks are most often seen at events such as the Dakar Rally, the Africa Eco Race, the Russian Silk Way Rally and Rally Kazakhstan.

Kamaz-Masters Team has been the dominant force in T4 world motor sport with an impressive winning record at the Dakar, although the likes of Team De Rooy Iveco, the Loprais Team, Hino Team Sugawara and Big Shock Racing are currently keeping the Russian team on its toes.

Colonel Mari Al-Shahrani, the head of the security committee at the Hail Nissan Rally, added: “We have identified the security points where there are intersections with other traffic and secured the path of the competitors on all the stages. There will be five passage control points on each stage and additional security for inhabitants where the route crosses close to villages and areas of population.”

The event is being organized by the Hail Regional Development Authority in co-operation with the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage and the General Authority for Sport. It is being held under the patronage of Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Saud, Governor of Hail and President of the Supreme Commission for Hail Development.


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