- Title: Women welcomed behind wheel as Saudi Arabia holds rally
- Date: 17th January 2018
- Summary: HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 17, 2018) (REUTERS) CAR STARTING THE RACE CHILDREN FLASHING VICTORY SIGN TO RACER HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 14, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CARS RACING DRIVER STOPPING TO REGISTER HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 16, 2018) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) JOURNALIST, SHU'AA AL-FURAIH, SAYING: "It is possible in the coming year to see the presence of women in the Hail International Rally from outside the country. But Saudi women in particular may need some time before they start competing." HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 17, 2018) (REUTERS) CAR RACING IN DESERT HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 15, 2018) (REUTERS) CAR RACING IN DESERT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF SAUDI ARABIAN MOTOR FEDERATION, PRINCE KHALED BIN SULTAN AL-FAISAL, SAYING: "Hail did not continue to host the World Championship because of the decision not to allow women to drive in the rally. Now, this dilemma has been resolved. The preparations I saw today make me confident that Hail is capable of being on the world map." HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 15, 2018) (REUTERS) RACE IN PROGRESS AUDIENCE WATCHING RACE HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 16, 2018) (REUTERS) CAR RACING IN THE DESERT HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 14, 2018) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) CLERK OF THE COURSE OF RALLY HAIL, ELI SAMA'AN, SAYING: "We have had many changes in the rally but this year we have got new different terrains completely. (We have) a stage that doesn't have dunes whatsoever. It consists mainly of navigation so the co-driver has to work a lot harder than normal. This year we have one of the longest stages since the inception of rally. It measures about 370 kilometres; in the past we had up to 300 kilometres but not this particular distance." HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 15, 2018) (REUTERS) AUDIENCE WATCHING RACERS HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 14, 2018) (REUTERS) CAR CROSSING DESERT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RACER, AHMED AL-SHAMARI, SAYING: "Today, we expect to see much action, and we wish success, God willing." HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 15, 2018) (REUTERS) AUDIENCE WATCHING RACE HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 16, 2018) (REUTERS) VISITORS TOURING MARKET ORGANISED ON SIDELINES OF THE RALLY RACER CROSSING DESERT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RACER, SAMI AL-MESHA'AN, SAYING: "The Hail International Rally in its 13th version witnessed major development during the past years in terms of organisation, ranking, awards. We wish to continue on this improvement in the coming years." HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA (JANUARY 17, 2018) (REUTERS) HELICOPTER FLYING OVER RACE TRACK
- Embargoed: 31st January 2018 15:03
- Keywords: Hail International Rally female drivers Saudi Arabia Saudi rally motor rally
- Location: HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA
- City: HAIL, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Rallying,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0017YI07KL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: After eight years of suspension, rallying is back in Saudi Arabia as the country allows women to take part in the race.
The Hail International Rally has set expectations that the event would see female drivers in coming years.
The international rally was officially suspended in 2010 as Saudi authorities refused to allow women to compete. But the kingdom continued to hold the event in the past eight years without official recognition from the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
A royal decree by Saudi King Salman allowed women to drive in late 2017, but journalist Shu'aa al-Furaih said it is still too early for Saudi women drivers to take part in the rally.
No women driver has registered in this year's rally.
Racers say the rally witnessed fierce competition as strong vehicles rammed through the terrains of al-Nafud Desert in Hail.
The 46-racer event runs until Thursday.
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