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The kingdom is already gearing up for Dakar Rally 2021 in Saudi Arabia and will be competing with its own team courtesy of a joint venture between Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and Prodrive International.
The sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Bahrain has teamed up with the British motorsport and engineering group, that has extensive experience in creating championship winning race and rally cars, to develop the new Prodrive International car to race in the top level T1 class.
Khalid Al Rumaihi, Mumtalakat’s chief executive officer, said, “Prodrive has participated in numerous regional and international motorsports events throughout its 30 plus years of operation, winning six FIA World Rally Championships, five Le Mans titles and seven Middle East Rally Championships.
“We’re very proud of the Rally’s move to the region and in partnering with Prodrive, we expand Bahrain’s significant motorsport heritage, having established the Bahrain International Circuit to host Formula One in the Middle East for the first time in 2004.”
Two rally cars will be manufactured and operated annually by Prodrive International who will also produce other customer cars and offer a range of performance parts and body kits as accessories for clients.
The multi-stage annual race, which was first established in 1978, would normally begin in Paris, France and end in Dakar, Senegal, covering approximately 10,000sqm over a period of about 16 days.
Between 2009 and 2019, the race was relocated to South America and opened in Saudi Arabia for the first time this year. Rally cars race one at a time, against the clock, across multiple stages of the intense off-road terrain.
David Richards CBE, founder and chairman of Prodrive, added: “It has been a long-held ambition of mine and Prodrive to compete in the Dakar Rally. To be able to do so with Mumtalakat and in Saudi Arabia makes the prospect even more special.”