The South Racing Can-Am Team duo of Oman’s Abdullah Al Zubair and Russia’s Fedor Vorobeyev are in the UAE making their final preparations for this weekend’s Dubai International Baja, round two of the 2019 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.
The two drivers are tackling rounds of both the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the shorter Bajas this season and have already taken part in events in Russia and Qatar in their Can-Am Maverick X3s, entered in the competitive T3 category.
Al Zubair and fellow Omani Faisal Al Raisi finished second in the T3 category and 11th overall at last month’s Baja Northern Forest Rally in the Republic of Karelia and currently trail T3 series leader Michele Cinotto by just seven points in the race for the Baja title that will be fought out over eight rallies in Russia, Dubai, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Jordan and Portugal.
The AZ Racing Team driver teamed up with navigator Nasser Al Kuwari the following week to finish 11th overall and fourth in T3 at the Qatar Cross-Country Rally after incurring one stage maximum time penalty following a turbo failure.
Vorobeyev and fellow Russian navigator Kirill Shubin finished sixth in T3 and 15th overall in Russia and delivered an impressive performance together in Qatar to cross the finish line second in T3 behind Reinalde Varela and in a superb seventh overall.
The crew will again run their South Racing Can-Am under the Zavidovo Racing Team banner in the UAE from March 7-9.
Competition in the T3 category in Dubai comes from series leader Cinotto, former FIA T2 world champion Adel Abdulla, Spain’s Santiago Navarro and Emirati driver Michel Fadel.
The Dubai International Baja is organised by the Automobile Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATC UAE) and runs to a shorter format than the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
Based at the Dubai Autodrome, crews will tackle two selective sections of 201.60km and 204.03km on Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, before the ceremonial finish back at the Dubai Autodrome on Saturday afternoon.
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Formula E is set to return to the UK next summer with the streets of London hosting a race in season six of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The race will take part around London Docklands, with the starting grid and finishing straight located inside the ExCel Centre, and will be the season finale double-header of the 2019/20 campaign on July 25 and 26.
ExCeL will be the new home of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in the UK as part of a multi-year agreement and represents a first return to the capital for the sport since the London ePrix in 2016.
“Every motorsport series would love to host an event in London – this has been our desire for quite some time now and we’re delighted to have found a new home in the Royal Docks at ExCeL London,” said Formula E founder and chief executive officer Alejandro Agag.
“Formula E coming back to the UK extends beyond pure racing excitement, it’s also a strong message for London to tackle inner-city air pollution by promoting clean technologies and electric sustainable mobility.”
The world’s first all-electric international single-seater championship began in the grounds of Beijing’s Olympic Park in 2014 and now has nine manufacturers, 11 teams and 22 drivers on the grid with races taking places on city streets around the world.
#BREAKING: Formula E will return to London in 2020 with a world-first indoor-outdoor track #LondonEPrix 🇬🇧— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) March 5, 2019
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Plans are in motion to establish Dubai Autodrome as one of the best multipurpose racing circuits and testing facilities in the world as the venue prepares to host the stars of international cross country rallying next month.
The Autodrome’s existing world-class motor sport infrastructure and amenities made it an obvious choice last year as the official home of the Dubai International Baja powered by AW Rostamani and Nissan.
When the double World Cup event returns from March 7-9, work will already be under way on phase two of the Dubai Autodrome Business Park which has rapidly become the hub of regional motorsport business since the first phase was completed last August.
Located at the heart of the 5.39-km race circuit, the new 3,150 square-meter facility is scheduled for completion by the end of November this year, with a third phase already in the planning stages by the developer, Union Properties.
The business park has already attracted a host of motorsports and automotive related businesses, and plans also include the addition of other testing facilities targeted at manufacturers for off-road, warm weather, autonomous vehicle and EV testing.
“The continued development of the facilities at Dubai Autodrome are the very reason why we were so keen to make this our home for the Dubai International Baja,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE and FIA Vice President for Sport.
“Our intention over the coming years is to attract a growing entry of top teams, drivers and riders from across the Middle East and overseas, and having a world-class base for the rally is a huge asset.”
Faisal Al Sahlawi, general manager of Dubai Autodrome, added: “We’re pleased to have this world-class rally event return to Dubai Autodrome and we look forward to welcoming drivers and riders from around the world to compete here.
“We will continue to work closely with the ATCUAE to develop high-profile events, like the Dubai International Baja, to meet the growing demand for motorsport in the region.”
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the third edition of the Dubai International Baja is the second round of this year’s FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas for cars and buggies and the opening round of the FIM Bajas World Cup for bikes and quads.
The event sends a powerful line-up of cars, buggies, bikes and quads onto a spectacular two-day route through the Al Qudra desert.
Competitors head out from Dubai Autodrome into the desert on the morning of Friday, March 8, to tackle a dramatic 407km special stage which will be run again the following morning before the event finishes back at the Autodrome at 12:30 the same day.