The inaugural Extreme E race is just around the corner and in Saudi Arabia they are preparing in style to host the first race in the history of the competition, in the desert terrain of Al-Ula from April 3-4.
For Arab organizers, the arrival of the series marks another milestone in motorsports. Having hosted desert rallying for over half a century, the kingdom welcomed its first FIA-backed street race with the 2019 Diriyah Formula E E-Prix, a competition that has races for two weekends, most recent last month.
In 2020, the kingdom became the first nation in the Middle East to host the famous Dakar Rally, “the toughest race in the world,” with competitors winding through hundreds of miles of desert dunes as they raced across the country from Jeddah for two weeks.
The Saudi Dakar returned in January this year, with an even tougher, but just as fascinating route through the country and later this year, Formula 1 racing will finally arrive with the first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix taking place in Jeddah.
It is through the tireless work of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) that Extreme E will hit the desert. It was also through the Federation’s partnerships with Formula E and the Dakar Rally that the Arab country now hosts both the Diriyah E-Prix and the Saudi Dakar for 10 years of events, as well as Formula One.
Led by the president, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, SAMF illustrated to Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E, the high levels of popularity of motorsports in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, they highlighted the ambitions of Saudi Vision 2030 and the Quality of Life program, as well as the Kingdom’s desire to implement green initiatives wherever possible.
“We feel the Kingdom is an ideal fit for Extreme E due to our forward thinking and original approach to the new Saudi Arabia we are aiming for under the goals of Vision 2030,” Prince Khalid said.
“Under Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seeks to create a vibrant society in which all citizens can fulfil their dreams, hopes and ambitions to succeed in a thriving economy, and we see sport as a key component of that.
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“We also see need for change and to do all we can to support the environment and our planet,” he added. “That’s at the core of Extreme E’s mission and it gives us enormous pride to be hosting their first ever race in the Kingdom this April.”
At Al-Ula, the tour will highlight the impact of desertification, before continuing to the stunning scenery of Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina to continue spreading the message while pushing the drivers and their teams to the limit.
Written by I Jhonattan González