Hail Toyota International Rally flagged off, Al-Rajhi leads the way after prologue stage

Hail Toyota International Rally flagged off, Al-Rajhi leads the way after prologue stage
Hail Toyota International Rally flagged off, Al-Rajhi leads the way after prologue stage

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Hail Toyota International Rally flagged off, Al-Rajhi leads the way after prologue stage

HAIL: Prince Abdulaziz bin Saad bin Abdulaziz, governor of the Hail region, flagged off competitors on the spectator stage at Al-Maghwah Amusement Park to officially launch the fifth edition of the Hail Toyota International Rally on Thursday.

The ceremony was attended by Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, and Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, deputy governor of the Hail region, as well as members of the participating teams and sponsors.

Heading the entry was Saudi Desert Rally champion Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who is top seed in the car category, followed by local and international drivers.

Al-Rajhi, Abdullah Abu Aisheh and Haitham Al-Tuwaijri set the fastest times in the car, motorcycle and quad categories on the opening 6.25 km prologue stage.

Al-Rajhi is bidding to retain his national title and win the FIA World Bajas Cup and the Toyota Hilux driver clocked a time of four minutes 28 seconds on the slippery opening test.

That was sufficient for the Riyadh driver and his German co-driver Timo Gottschalk to beat their Overdrive Racing team-mates Rokas Baciuška and Oriol Vidal by eight seconds.

The fifth edition has attracted 164 car and motorcycle racers from 24 different nationalities, with 97 cars participating and 25 racers in the motorcycle category, including six in the quad bike category.

Teams are now set for two days of competitive action to tackle three special stages in the Great Nafud Desert before they finish back at Al-Maghwah Amusement Park on Saturday afternoon.

The route for this year’s Hail Saudi Baja features classic desert terrain on sandy surfaces. There are sections of treacherous dunes, mountainous tracks, and fast-paced and twisty gravel trails.

Prince Khalid delivered a speech in which he welcomed the international and local drivers and teams participating in this rally, noting how motorsports in the Kingdom have made great strides over the past few years thanks to the continuous support of the Saudi leadership.

Following the opening ceremony, the special demonstration stage started from the Qareen Anz area, which is 3 km long.

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