August 16, 2017 | 7:26 PM
by Times News Service
A file photo shows OAA vice-chairman Jamal Al Tai, left, speaking during a press conference held to announce the details of Gulf Challenge in the presence of promoter Abdullah Bakhashab, centre, in Muscat.
Dubai: The Gulf Challenge, a new off-road rally series which was announced back in May and was scheduled to start in September 2017, has been postponed until 2018.
The decision was announced by Abdullah Bakhashab, the former FIA Middle East rally champion and promoter of the Gulf Challenge, after consultation with the respective automobile federations and motorsport clubs in the Gulf region.
Bakhashab cited unfavourable economic conditions, which had prompted many companies interested in supporting the Challenge to change their stances in recent weeks and this had negatively affected the preparations for the exciting new rally series.
The series was scheduled to kick off with Oman leg. The Oman Automobile Association (OAA), in fact, officially announced the details of the inaugural event in June when they set September 8 as the launch date of the series.
Bakhashab said: “I regret to announce the postponement of the Gulf Challenge, which was scheduled to start next month, to the 2018-2019 season. There is a positive side to this decision in that it gives us more time to organise, promote and prepare in the way that we want to and it will also help those eager to participate to better prepare themselves, so that we can attract as many competitors as possible next season.”
The Gulf Challenge is the brainchild of Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the former multiple FIA Middle East Rally Champion and President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates. Ben Sulayem attracted unrivalled support from the relevant automobile federations in the Gulf states to establish a new 4×4 rallying series.