Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, QMMF President, is seen with FIA officials following a meeting held to discuss Cross-Country calendar, in Geneva, Switzerland. Al Attiyah is the FIA Cross Country Commission President.
DOHA: Russia will launch the 2014 FIA Cross-Country season in snowy conditions, this was confirmed by Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah from Geneva yesterday.
Al Attiyah, who is the FIA Cross Country Commission President, said Morocco will join Russia as two new stops on next year’s calendar.
Baja Russia, set to be held in Northern Forest (February 14 to 16), and the Rally OiLibya du Maroc (September 21 to 27) are the latest additions to the bulging calendar.
The Pharaons Rally (May 18 to 25) will also rejoin the calendar after its cancellation this year due to political instability in the African nation.
“We will see two new Cross-Country races next year - one in Russia which will launch the new seasons and then a race in Morocco,” Al Attiyah said after attending an FIA meeting in Geneva.
“The race in Russia will be spectacular. It will be held on snow-laden surface in Northern Forest in Russia,” he added. The average temperature during the rally is usually round the - 10 °C (14 °F).
Al Attiyah, a Vice President at FIM - the ruling body in bike racing - said the 2014 season will see a jump in the number of races next season.
“We had eight races in 2013. Next year we will have 10 races. There is a huge interest to stage Cross-Country events. We are dealing with interest from as far as China for a slot on the Cross-Country.
“I plan to visit China and assess their intent on getting a slot on the Cross-Country calendar,” Al Attiyah said.
“The FIA Commission is also interested in expanding their calendar to Latin American countries like Brazil, Chile, Peru and Argentina. Like I said, there is an unbelievable interest from parties in getting on the Cross-Country calendar,” the Qatari motor sport official said.
“Most of these things will be decided in our next meeting which will be held in February (next year).
“This was the most important meeting before we all head for the FIA Presidential election (to be held on December 6),” Al Attiyah said.
The QMMF president said Sealine Cross-Country will be held on April 23 whereas the 2014 season is set to kick-off in February.
Al Attiyah said he will be in Abu Dhabi this week for the Formula One race in the UAE where he will meet FIA President Jean Todt.
“I have been assigned by the FIA president to go to Abu Dhabi and as an FIA official I have a busy schedule to keep there,” Al Attiyah said. THE PENINSULA