Mohammed Bin Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates, has announced details of the new 2017 Gulf Challenge, initially a five-round off-road rally series.
The announcement was made at a press conference held at the headquarters of the ATCUAE in Dubai, today.
“The Gulf Challenge is our first step of investment in our promising GCC talent in the field of motor sport,” said Mohammed Bin Sulayem, who is also President of the Emirates Motor Sports Federation, EMSF. “The new championship will enable us to develop those talents and sustain motor sport in the Gulf region.
Bin Sulayem was joined by Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Bakhashab, promoter of the competition, and will promote the new series in conjunction with the federations of the various GCC countries involved in the project.
“The GCC countries have a proven track record in motor sport and they possess qualified infrastructure to organise and create world class events. We have the Formula One, the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship,” said Bin Sulayem.
Following on from the success of the UAE Baja Championship, which is now in its third year and regularly attracts around 100 entries, the Gulf Challenge has been devised to be open for various car, motorcycle and quad classes. Separate championships will be run for each discipline.
Cars running in the FIA T1, T2 and T3 categories will be eligible and two local categories will be developed for T1L, modified cars, and T2L, standard cars that are not FIA homologated but comply with T2 regulations. There will also be a couple of Buggy categories, B1 and B2.
Motorcycles will compete for the overall championship and there will be classes for 450, Over 450, Masters, Marathon and Quads.
The championship prize-giving will be determined by a draw each year to select the host venue.
According to the Gulf Challenge provisional calendar, the competition will kick off in Oman on 7th and 8th September, followed by a meeting in UAE on 5th and 6th October.