Khalid Al Qassimi and Dirk Von Zitzewitz in their Peugeot 3008 DKR during the Dubai Baja
Khalid Al Qassimi and Dirk Von Zitzewitz in their Peugeot 3008 DKR during the Dubai Baja Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Mohammad Bin Sulayem has paid tribute to individual competitors, teams, sponsors and volunteers for a “fantastic” combined effort to ensure a safe and successful fourth edition of the Dubai International Baja.

Bin Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO), said that the COVID-19 protocol put in place in conjunction with the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), had been observed meticulously, repaying Government of Dubai trust in a secure return to World Cup rallying in the emirate.

“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who took part in the event for ensuring that the COVID-19 measures put in place in line with government requirements were followed with maximum respect to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” Bin Sulayem said.

“This was the result of a fantastic combined effort by competitors, teams, sponsors and volunteers who gave us 100 per cent support and cooperation from start to finish to secure the event,” added the FIA Vice-President for Sport.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the Dubai International Baja was sponsored by Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and Arabian Automobiles Nissan.

Based at the Innovation Centre located at the Solar Park, the rally entered the record books as the first FIA World Cup cross-country event to be run on solar power.

Ruled out last year by the COVID-19 emergency, the Dubai International Baja was given the official go ahead on NCEMA approval of stringent COVID-19 Protocol designed by the EMSO.

Government backing for the event included the support of the General Authority of Sports, Dubai Customs, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, Emarat, Dubai Media Inc and Mai Dubai.

“The Government of Dubai placed great trust in us to bring back World Cup rallying to the emirate, and ensure that the event was run safely, and the support provided was crucial to its success,” Bin Sulayem said.

The second round of the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas for cars and first round of the FIM Bajas World Cup for bikes attracted 93 entries from 28 nationalities.

With the rally taking place across the dunes and plains of the Al Qudra desert, the EMSO was able to satisfy requirements for events to be run well away from public areas, in the process highlighting its commitment to sustainable development of the sport.

It became only the third national sporting body in the world, in 2015, to receive the highest recognition for sustainable development initiatives matching environmental goals of the FIA, motor sport’s governing body.

Since then, at events including the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the EMSO has being actively doing more to minimise waste, promote recycling and use of recycled materials, and reduce consumption.