THIS year’s Sealine Rally, which has been renamed as Qatar Cross-Country Rally, will be held from April 17 to 22.
The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) is currently finalising the route for the event, which is now entering its sixth season as a round of both FIA (governing body for cars) and FIM (bikes) World Championships.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah, England’s recently-crowned Dakar champion Sam Sunderland and Chile’s Ignacio Casale are the defending champions in the cars, bikes and quads section respectively.
Traditionally one of the most demanding rounds of both the FIA cross-country championships, in terms of tricky navigation and intricate tracks and sand trails, this year’s event has been shortened from five selective sections to four and features a number of exciting innovations.
“We’ve cut down the number of long selective sections from five to four and reduced the actual competitive distance to around 1,380km from 1,635km. The rally will also cover a larger geographical area on this occasion and we’ll have less stony sections,” said QMMF President Abdulrahman Al Mannai.
Rally headquarters will be at the Losail International Circuit for the second year. Portugal’s Pedro Almeida will continue to be the Clerk of the Course, with Rashed Al Sulaiti his deputy and Frenchman Franck Vayssie the new Rally Director.