Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and German navigator Timo Gottschalk won the 2.4km Prologue stage at Obhur that kick started action at the second Rally Jeddah on Thursday evening.
The Hummer Dbug duo will now lead 35 rivals and six motorcycles into two days of desert action in western Saudi Arabia, in an event that is being supported by Mohamed Yousef Naghy Motors (MYN Motors) – Land Rover – and is sanctioned by the FIA. Competitors were flagged away from the start in front of a packed grandstand by H.R.H. Prince Mishaal Bin Majed bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of Jeddah.
Al-Rajhi won the twisty and technical Prologue, which featured two jumps, by two seconds from the Emirati crew of Yayha Al-Helai and Khaled Al-Kendi, with the Saudi pairing of Saleh Al-Abdulali and Mohammed Al-Naeem in third place. Ibrahim Al-Sahman rolled within five metres of the finish line and still managed to reach the end in fourth.
The rally has the backing of the higher committee of Rally Jeddah, which incorporates the General Presidency of Youth Welfare, Jeddah Municipality, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiques in the Mecca region and a branch of the Saudi Red Crescent in Mecca. Support has also been received from Jeddah police and traffic departments and civil defence administration.
Competitors will tackle a 123km selective section between Obhur and Bahra from 14.35hrs on Friday afternoon.