KSA: Saudi Ahmed Al-Sabban set to debut new Ford Raptor T2 in Rally Jeddah
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014- JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia): Saudi Arabian rally driver Ahmed Al-Sabban is putting the finishing touches to a brand new Ford Raptor that he will debut in this weekend’s Rally Jeddah, taking place on January 30th-February 1st. Prepared by Saluki Motorsport in the United Arab Emirates to FIA T2 specification, the new Raptor was collected by Al-Sabban last week and taken to Saudi Arabia, where it is undergoing the finishing touches before Al-Sabban wheels it out in the Kingdom’s brand new cross-country event.
The Saudi burst on to the regional rally scene at the wheel of a Gulf Oil-backed Group N Ford Escort RS Cosworth in the 1993 season and has been a regular competitor in the FIA Middle East rally series for 20 years. Powered by a 6.2-litre engine, the 2013 Ford Raptor F150 SVT supercab will carry support from Al-Sabban’s sponsors Banader Gulf and Al-Tazaj and will run in Jeddah under the management of Raed Zahran.
Al-Sabban will be co-driven by the experienced Qatari navigator Adel Hussein, who is also a successful competitor in cross-country events at the helm of quad bikes.
“It’s a good looking car and we are all looking forward to getting stuck into its first event,” enthused Al-Sabban. “It’s fitting that we will be using a new car on a new brand event. It’s a new challenge.”
Saudi drivers Sultan Hamdi and Sami Al-Shammeri will represent the Bakhashab Isuzu Rally Team in the T2 category at the wheel of a pair of diesel-engined D-Max models – a car that has already achieved class success in the Ha’il and Pharoahs rallies and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
“Our entire team is looking forward to the challenge of the new event with the Isuzus,” said Abdul Rahman Al-Haraki, the head of the Bakhashab Isuzu Rally Team, which has already taken part in six desert-type rallies. “We have useful experience of events like this and expect this race to be a challenging one.”
One of the leading non-Saudi drivers will be the experienced Yayha Al-Helai, a veteran of numerous UAE and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenges and regularly the top privateer driver on previous rounds of the FIA World Cup.
Al-Helai lists second overall in the UAE Desert Challenge as his best ever finish and teams up with co-driver Khalid Al-Kendi in the Saudi desert at the wheel of his Nissan Patrol.
The event is being held under the patronage of H.R.H. Prince Mishaal Bin Majid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of Jeddah and head of Rally Jeddah’s Higher Organising Committee. Rally Jeddah is being organised with the support of the Higher Committee of the Jeddah Rally which incorporates the General Presidency of Youth Welfare, Jeddah Municipality, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiques in the Mecca region, a branch of the Saudi Red Crescent in Mecca, the Jeddah Police and Traffic Departments and Civil Defence Administration in Jeddah. MYN Motors is supplying Land Rovers as the official car for Rally Jeddah.
Spectators can follow all the news for Rally Jeddah on Facebook, flicker, Twitter and Instagram (rallyJeddah)