Saudi Arabia signs a ten-year deal to host WRC

Saudi Arabia signs a ten-year deal to host WRC

Saudi Arabia and the WRC promoter have signed a ten-year deal that will see the Middle Eastern country host the final championship round of next year.

WRC Promoter has confirmed Saudi Arabia’s spot on the FIA World Rally Championship schedule beginning in 2025 with the official announcement of a landmark ten-year deal.

HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the Saudi Motorsport Company, made the announcement on Saturday in Sardinia confirming the Jeddah based event’s long-term future in the WRC.

Rally Saudi Arabia is set to host the final round of next year’s expected 14-event championship in November and could be set to hold that berth for the next five years at least. The rally will be held in stages featuring a mixture of mountain and desert roads and a test event is likely to be held early next year as part of the Middle East Rally Championship.

The WRC round is expected to highlight the nation’s diverse and challenging settings with surfaces ranging from volcanic rock to sandy desert terrain, offering crews a unique challenge under conditions that have never been experienced before in WRC history.

“We are thrilled to host the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time in 2025,” said Al-Faisal. “The arrival of another racing series of global stature in Saudi Arabia confirms the extent of our transformation into a major hub for motorsport in the region.

“From 2025 we will proudly host Formula 1, Formula E, Extreme E, the Dakar Rally and now WRC and Rally Saudi Arabia in the Kingdom – an extraordinary accomplishment.

“By growing our motorsport portfolio and further increasing our commitment to hosting major motorsport series such as WRC in the Kingdom, we remain true to the goals of Vison 2030 which aims to improve the lives of all Saudis.”

Despite being the newest member of the WRC, Saudi Arabia has a solid history of hosting a wide range of major international sporting events, such as the Dakar Rally, Formula 1, football, and golf.

“This is a great moment for motorsport in the Middle East,” FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem added.

“It has been over a decade since the FIA World Rally Championship last visited the region, and from my own experience, I know very well the unique challenges that the drivers and co-drivers will face when Rally Saudi Arabia gets underway in 2025.”

WRC’s event director Simon Larkin says Saudi Arabia’s unique roads will add something different to the championship when it comes to storytelling.

“We haven’t been to the Middle East since 2011, so for us it is a completion of the story of our calendar. I think the pictures and the story we can tell there is really exciting,” said Larkin. “The roads that we have found there and the way we want to talk about it, is a rally of three stories.

“There will be a day in the mountains, a day in a volcano region and a day of desert.

“This isn’t Dakar but it will give the perception that we are doing a day in the desert on formed sand roads. Each day will have a different flavour.

“We think it will be an amazing event and story, and with a motorsport culture that largely grew up on rallying.”

The rally will be organised by the Saudi Motorsport Company and SAMF under the supervision of the Saudi Ministry of Sports and in collaboration with the WRC.

Meanwhile, the WRC promoter intends to have the full 2025 WRC calendar ready for FIA inspection later this month with an announcement early in July.

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