Officials at the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) have announced initial plans for next year’s Qatar Cross-Country Rally (QCCR), the opening round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup. The event takes place over five stages on February 21-26, 2019.
The QCCR will be the first round of the prestigious FIA series for the first time since it joined the championship in 2012. It will feature live televised start and finish ceremonies on the Pearl and five demanding desert special stages.
“We are delighted that the Manateq Qatar Cross-Country Rally will be the opening round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies for the first time in 2019,” said Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, QMMF President and Chairman of the organising committee.
“We have great pleasure in inviting drivers and riders from around the world to enjoy the challenges and demands that our off-road terrain and difficult navigation throws up. We have again tweaked the format for the 2019 edition. Our start ceremony and prize giving will both take place at the fabulous location of the Pearl and will feature live television coverage.
“Our team has laid on a challenging five-day route through the remotest and most spectacular parts of the State of Qatar and we look forward to welcoming competitors and showing our traditionally warm Arabic hospitality and support.”
Rally headquarters and the media centre will be based at the new Losail Sports Arena, adjacent to the Losail International Circuit, and a bivouac will be located outside the main indoor facilities.
The ceremonial start will take place from 18.30hrs on February 21st and the five desert sections will take centre stage from February 22nd to 26th before the ceremonial finish on the Pearl. Rally officials have put together a generous concessions package that includes free shipping from Europe with a 20ft container for each competitor, prize monies and other logistical support and an entry package as per the event regulations.
The deadline for shipping equipment from the European ports of Rotterdam or Genoa is January 6. Cars and equipment would then be available at the service park from February 14 with the fee paid by the QMMF for the Europe-Doha-Europe segment.
The Rotterdam option has a loading deadline of January 8 for a sailing date of January 18 and an arrival date of February 11. The Genoa vessel will load on January 11/12 and sail on January 24. It will also arrive on February 11. Teams need to be registered with the QMMF before the shipping procedure.
Entries open on December 23 and the closing date will be on January 22.