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Extreme E announces Saudi Arabia for desert round

Extreme E has announced Saudi Arabia will host its “desert leg” in the championship’s maiden season.

Three of the five locations for the inaugural all-electric off-road championship have now been confirmed, with Saudi Arabia joining Brazil and Greenland on the calendar.

“One of the major conerstones of this revolutionary championship is that we will race across terrains and environments that will push the world’s top drivers, teams and engineers to their absolute limits,” said series CEO Alejandro Agag.

“For our desert location, we are taking a real leap into uncharted territory. Heading to Saudi Arabia, home of the world’s largest continuous sand desert among a multitude of extraordinary environments in which to race, gives us unbelievable scope to create an unprecedented challenge for our competitors.

“The Kingdom’s terrain is strunning and unforgiving, while the head and conditions will be intense. There is no question that the winning combination of driver and machine will be a deserving one.”

Saudi Arabia already hosts Extreme E’s sister championship Formula E. The country’s capital, Riyadh, has held the opening round of the championship for the past two seasons, and will host a double-header opening round next month.

Extreme E is yet to determine where in the country the round will be held, but says its “main priority is to race in extreme desert environment, where electric SUVs can show their capacities to race under the harshest conditions.”

“Extreme E is a pioneering new series and we are proud to host the championship in the country – and the Middle East region for its inaugural 2021 campaign,” said His Royal Highness Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdullah AlFaisal, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation.

“There is a rich and passionate motorsport audience within the Kingdom, and being able to welcome a new world-leading series with renowned drivers, manufacturers and cutting-edge technology into the fold will only serve to bolster that passion and heighten awareness of sustainable technologies and behaviours as we seek to protect Saudi Arabia’s outstanding natural beauty and our planet at large.”

The opening round of the championship is set to begin in February 2021.

An ocean location and a route in the Himalayas are also expected to be announced in the coming months.

Image credit: Extreme E

Bethonie Waring

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