Automobil Pininfarina Expands Middle East Presence: Nine Motors Appointed New Retail Partner in Saudi Arabia

Luxury Italian carmaker Automobili Pininfarina expands its global retailer network to Saudi Arabia, with Nine Motors appointed as its exclusive retail partner in the Kingdom.

  • Pure-electric Battista is making its dynamic debut in the region this November, as clients experience the hyper GT on local roads for the first time
  • Delivieries of the Battista hyper GT to clients in North America have already begun with Europe receiving the first pure-electric models to leave the Cambiano atelier and the Middle East to follow
  • Automobili Pininfarina’s entry into Saudi Arabia is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy aimed at building a progressive and thriving future for the country in the years to come
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Luxury Italian carmaker, Automobili Pininfarina has appointed Nine Motors as its official retail partner in Saudi Arabia, further expanding its presence in the GCC. A subsidiary of The Leading Holding Co. (TLHC), Nine Motors will be responsible for the sales and service of Automobili Pininfarina’s award-winning Battista. The pure-electric hyper GT is making its first visit to the region in November for clients to experience first-hand.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most important markets in Automobili Pininfarina’s retailer network strategy and is a country fast adopting a sustainable future thanks to its Vision 2030 strategy implemented by the Kingdom’s leadership. With the appointment of Nine Motors, Automobili Pininfarina is setting the foundations for further appointments in the region, where dedicated brand representatives will provide exceptional personal service and attention to detail for the Italian marque’s discerning clientele.

Pininfarina Battista Photo: James Lipman

Per Svantesson, Chief Executive Officer, Automobili Pininfarina, said: “The expansion of our retail partner network in Saudi Arabia is a significant milestone for the Automobili Pininfarina brand. Battista sets a new benchmark for the desirability and performance offered by an electric car and, with our new partner location in Saudi Arabia, we have established an important brand presence between the GCC and the Kingdom for pioneering EV clients in the region. 

“I am excited to provide the opportunity to experience the future of pure Italian luxury in the shape of the world’s most exciting new electric car. With deliveries of the incredible Battista hyper GT worldwide now underway, we are ready to bring the joy of owning Battista to new clients in the Middle East.”

Sabah Bin Abdullah Al Kraidees, CEO of Nine Motors said, “We are delighted to take on this role as the official retail partner of Automobili Pininfarina in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is forging ahead towards a more sustainable future, guided by our Vision 2030 strategy. So, the arrival of the Battista comes at a significant time in the country’s history. With almost two decades of automotive experience in the Kingdom, we are looking forward in turn to making history with the luxury Italian automaker and are confident we can create a successful future for the brand in Saudi Arabia. We are excited to welcome our customers to see the Battista up close and personal at our Mega 3S Customer Experience Centre in Riyadh and Jeddah imminently.”


Automobili Pininfarina now has two retail partners across the GCC, as it builds upon a highly successful previous year for the brand. In summer 2021, the ultra-exclusive Battista Anniversario made its physical world premiere during the famous Monterey Car Week. All five examples of the pinnacle model in the Battista portfolio were sold during the event, underscoring a successful programme of events for the company. Following this year’s event, the first cars crafted for clients in North America were delivered to their new owners, marking another significant milestone.

Each pure-electric Battista hyper GT – the most powerful Italian car ever made – is crafted over more than 1,250 hours per piece in Cambiano, northern Italy. Producing 1,900 PS and 2,340 Nm of torque, no more than 150 examples of the Battista will be commissioned and handcrafted for customers worldwide. With a total of 128 million interior combinations alone, the new hyper GT promises new levels of bespoke tailoring, and Nine Motors will assist clients as they personalise the Battista to suit their individual taste.

Battista clients are not only supported by Automobili Pininfarina’s growing global retailer network, but also by the pure-electric hyper GT’s advanced connected infotainment systems, which includes Over-The-Air software updates anywhere in the world. In addition, Automobili Pininfarina’s very own ‘flying doctor’ is on-hand worldwide to provide in-person technical support and knowledge – should it be required – delivering the personal service and effortless luxury, clients expect.


MG’s Striking Middle East Car Range Enhanced by London-Based Design Team

The British design studio has played a key role in creating Middle East models.

  • The link to the iconic brand’s UK birthplace remains strong.
  • The 20-strong team uses state-of-the-art technology in the design process.
  • Regionally-popular MG HS model exemplifies the studio’s creative design ethos.

At a time when Middle East car buyers continue to purchase MG models in record numbers, many of MG’s current line-up have benefitted from the involvement of the company’s hi-tech Advanced Design Studio in London, England. The British-born brand, which is now the sixth biggest-selling carmaker in the region, is still closely connected to the country where it was originally founded, almost 100 years ago.

Employing talented automotive designers from across Europe, MG repositioned its design team presence in the UK as a state-of-the-art design studio in 2018 – the brand’s Advanced Design Studio. The 20-strong team feeds from a creative culture that is unique to London, one of the most iconic and influential cities in the world.


This design ethos has helped influence a string of best-selling MG models in the Middle East, most notably the dynamic MG HS. The UK-based team also provided input in the development programs for the MG 6 and MG GT, which were launched across the Middle East at the end of 2021. MG’s dramatic Cyberster roadster concept, the all-electric convertible that represents a vision of the future, was also heavily influenced by the Advanced Design Studio.

The HS is a smart and practical SUV, exuding charm and capability, which has made it extremely popular among Middle East customers. It was even named Middle East Car of the Year in 2020. The exterior and interior design themes were developed by the British design team, shaping the stylish exterior to reflect the brand’s sporty DNA. Muscular and refined, the HS successfully captures an understated Britishness, blending simplicity and dynamic flair. Inside, the HS’s spacious cabin radiates a feeling of quality and comfort, combined with exceptional detailing.


Predominantly a digital studio, the team utilizes a largely digital process from ideation through to design execution, meaning they can produce results quickly and to a very high level. VR is used as a powerful development tool to assess design development. The Advanced Design Studio has also just introduced a clay modeling facility, created so the team can evaluate and manipulate new designs in the physical form. The space is built to accommodate up to three scale models – plus full-size interior models to the very highest standards.

Carl Gotham, Advanced Design Director, said: “The advantage of locating our studio in London is that it allows us to observe a vast array of cultural inputs and trends from around the world. As an Advanced Design Studio, we are also tasked with looking into the future and predicting what customers will want from their MG cars. We continue to provide fresh and provocative design proposals, helping to establish MG as a class-leading brand around the world.”

Tom Lee, MG Motor Middle East Managing Director, commented: “The work of the Advanced Design Studio builds on the deep and strong connection to MG’s British heritage, ensuring our products retain a uniquely British essence, in turn contributing to our long-term vision for the brand. The studio has played a key role in MG’s regional success, contributing to the brand’s growth and products’ appeal to our customers across the Middle East.”


Women Key to the Success of Rally Jameel

With the inaugural Rally Jameel now underway, the organizing team is now busy looking after the competitors, running the rally route, and ensuring everyone stay safe during the event. Amongst the large organizing team is a number of women all helping the event to go off without a hitch.

Under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which recognizes that a modern and progressive nation must encourage and empower all members of society in all forms, including sport, women have been heavily involved behind the scenes at Rally Jameel, an initiative by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors. Some hold key roles that are critical to the event’s daily operation and overall success.

“My role is as the Chief Medical Officer on the rally, so I’m responsible for the medical safety of all the participants and organizers of the rally,” said Her Royal Highness Dr. Ahad Al Saud, who as well as being a senior doctor in Saudi Arabia, is also the CMO of the Saudi Arabian F1 Grand Prix, the FIA Medical Delegate for Saudi Arabia and the head of the Saudi Arabian Marshall’s Club. “I want the rally to be very successful, with all the competitors finishing safely. I feel they are so lucky to be competing in Rally Jameel, as Jameel in Arabic means ‘beautiful’ and this is really a beautiful rally.”

Not all of the organizers have a background in motorsport or even sports events. For some of the women involved behind the scenes, this is their very first experience of racing, and certainly rallying of any kind. For them, Rally Jameel is providing an exciting new experience.


“This event is very important at a grassroots level to bring women not normally associated with rallying or racing into the sport,” said Aseel Al-Hamad, the well-known figurehead of women in motorsport, the first female member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, and a member of the FIA. Rally Jameel has been supported by the FIA’s Women In Motorsport Commission, and the aim of the rally is to develop and bring in new women drivers, navigators, and organizers, and prepare them for participating in the future local and international championships.”

Before the rally, all the teams went through a rigorous training program to prepare for the rally. The training which was partly conducted by experienced women from the wider motorsport world, covered everything from roadbook navigation to safety, sand recovery, and general tips on how to complete what for some is their first-ever driving event.


The inspiration for Rally Jameel came initially from the hugely successful Rebelle Rally in America. With that as a benchmark, the organizers have worked with members of the Rebelle organizing team to both bring in competitors from the US and also to help with some of the organization of the rally. Members of the event team even traveled all the way to Saudi Arabia for the rally.

“I’m thrilled to be part of Rally Jameel, helping as one of the stewards of the event. It’s really important to show support at a pivotal moment for women in Saudi Arabia,” commented Emily Miller, Founder, and Director of the Rebelle Rally. “It’s also great to work with the rally’s organizers, as we have a truly shared passion for motorsport and adventure, as well as the drive to elevate women. I’m really excited for Rally Jameel’s future.”

The navigational rally, which is not designed as a speed test, started in the north-central city of Hail and is heading to the sites of Al- Qassim city. It will then move on to the capital, Riyadh, via hidden checkpoints and challenges.

The local public is being urged to get involved and enjoy what is looking to be a popular event on the annual GCC motorsport calendar.


Successful Dakar Racer Dania Akeel Leads After Leg 1 of Rally Jameel, Saudi Arabia’s First Ever Women Only Motor Event

With Day One of Rally Jameel completed successful Dakar racer and Saudi national Dania Akeel, and co-driver Susana Hernando led by just over three points in their Toyota Land Cruiser GR, ahead of fellow Saudi Arabian driver Manar Alesayi and her British co-driver Lauren Bradley in a Jeep.

Only half a point behind them in third is the Swedish team of Dakar class winner Annie Seel and co-driver Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky in their Toyota RAV4.

“It was a great day and a good experience for both me and my co-driver. Both of us have never done something like this before,” said Alesayi. “But we are passionate about rallying and cars in general. Ever since I was young, I wanted to have something to do with car racing, but we had no expectations and were both nervous, but also hopeful. Being the second today was a shock, especially to be between two famous Dakar racers. My aim is to finish the rally, have a good time and see this experience for myself.”

The navigational rally, which is not designed as a speed test, started at Jubba, a UNESCO site featuring rock art. It then headed to Tuwarin Village. The rally now moves on towards the area of Uyun AlJiwa in the Al-Qassim region, which features the famous Antar and Abla rock. They will then stop overnight in Al-Qassim bivouac. The following day the rally will head to the capital Riyadh, via hidden checkpoints and challenges.

The eventual overall winner is the team that builds up the most points by the end of the rally, by arriving at the correct times to the various checkpoints and daily finish.

The event is being organized by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors and Bakhashab Motorsports and sanctioned by the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (SAMF).


Day 1 Results (after 278 km):

  • Car 13:
    Atefa Saleh – UAE – Toyota Prado – 544.552 Points
    Eleanor Coker the – USA
  • Car 31:
    Manar Alesayi – Saudi Arabia – Jeep Wrangler – 546.917 Points
    Lauren Bradley – UK
  • Car 10:
    Dania Akeel – Saudi Arabia – Toyota Landcruiser GR – 549.984 Points
    Susana Hernando – Spain
  • Car 21:
    Annie Seel – Sweden – Toyota RAV4 – 546.569 Points
    Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky – Sweden
  • Car 29:
    Ewelina Chlebowska – Poland – Toyota FJ Cruiser – 543.865 Points
    Hanna Riehle – Germany


History Made as Rally Jameel, Saudi Arabia’s First-Ever Women-Only Motorsport Event, Begins in Hail

Yesterday saw the ceremonial start of Rally Jameel, the region’s first-ever women-only motorsport event and initiative from Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, marking a historic moment in the Kingdom’s 2030 plan to empower its people, and especially Saudi Arabia’s women.

The ceremony, which was held in the historic Al-Qashla Palace in the city of Hail, was opened by His Royal Highness, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saad bin Abdulaziz, Prince of Hail, who said: “The city of Hail is an iconic site that carries history, culture, and adventure, and is also known for hosting international events celebrating our area’s rich culture. We host all kinds of sports in this region, especially extreme sports, and are always passionate about nurturing our local talent. This is especially true of the daughters of the Kingdom, who are about to take part in this significant race.”

The press conference then took place in the vicinity of Al Nafud Desert overlooking the magnificent red sands that are now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The conference saw a number of teams from a variety of countries explaining their involvement and their enthusiasm behind such an important event.


“I’m a daughter, a wife, and mother, as well as being a surgeon. But my passion for rallies started at a very young age and I’ve learned over time how to manage my time between all my hobbies and commitments,” said Dr. Fatima Banaz, from the Kingdom’s Desert Healers team. “Participating in this event will add to my many life experiences, as well as allow me to meet lots of new people. My aim is eventually to race in the Dakar Rally.”

The 34 teams are all now preparing their vehicles and studying the roadbook in order to maximize their attack on the first day of the rally.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank Rally Jameel for inviting all the American teams over,” said Dana Saxten, who flew in from America for the rally. “It’s quite an honor for us to be here. It’s thrilling to see the country and meet the people. Also, I am racing with my daughter, so really looking forward to the rally.”


Rally Jameel is a navigational rally, so not designed as a speed test. The competitors, who range from complete beginners to seasoned rally veterans from all over the world, will head to Al- Qassim city following their departure from Hail, and then on to the capital, Riyadh, on day three, all via hidden checkpoints and challenges.

“After buying a sportscar I decided I wanted to become a better driver, and I soon discovered there are some excellent drivers in the Kingdom, so I’ve since learned a lot,” said Nujood Zahid, from the Saudi Arabian Urban Bedouin team. “When I first heard about Rally Jameel I thought this is really of interest to me. And despite it being off-road, which I have never done before, the idea of racing against other women that share the same passion was an incredible opportunity. I’m very excited to be part of it.”

Zahid was the first person to sign up to the rally, getting her entry in just three minutes after the online site opened for applications.

The majority of teams entered are from Saudi Arabia, but there are also competitors taking part from the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Egypt, as well as teams from Europe and the USA. In total 15 countries from four continents are represented in the rally, making Rally Jameel a truly global event for the Kingdom.

The event has been backed by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors. The event has also been sponsored by SASCO, ALJ Oil, JME Advertainment, and Nova.

The organizers are keen for the local public to get involved as spectators, and enjoy what is set to be a popular event on the annual GCC motorsport calendar.


15 Nationalities Participate in the Women-only Rally Jameel to Test Their Limits in Motorsport

Thirty-Four teams from 15 countries have already put their entry in to take part in Saudi Arabia’s Rally Jameel, which is being held from March 17th to 19th.

With the rally now at full capacity, the competitors, who range from complete beginners to seasoned rally veterans, will begin flying in from all corners of the globe, as the exciting new women’s only navigational rally draws ever closer.

So far, the majority of teams entered are from Saudi Arabia itself, with 22 teams waving the flag for the Kingdom, with both Riyadh and Jeddah well represented. The rally will start on the 17th March in the north-central city of Hail.

Saudi national Dania Akeel, who was the first Saudi to participate in the Dakar Rally in 2022 and is a well-renowned figure in the regional motorsport scene, commented, “Rally Jameel inspires a sense of adventure and discovery. This rally will support the increasing number of women on the road to become comfortable behind the wheel and experience driving in a completely different way to driving on the road.”

The GCC will also be well represented with teams from both the United Arab Emirates and Oman taking part in the rally. For most of them, this will be the first time they will have driven in Saudi Arabia, after King Salman Al-Saud passed a decree recognizing women’s rights to drive on September 26th, 2017. Women were permitted to drive on public roads by the following summer.


Competitor Sanaa Al Shekaili, who was the first Omani racer from the GCC to participate in the 2020 Middle East Rally Championship, finishing in third place, said, “Rally Jameel is my chance to renew the love I’ve had of challenges since my childhood, especially in the field of motor racing, where I have the ability to challenge myself and the other competitors in this distinguished GCC women-only event.”

Shekaili, who also established the first women’s car club in Oman added, “This is very exciting to participate in. As well as empowering Omani women in the world of car racing and rallying, it is also showcasing Omani women in this field on the international stage.”

Some competitors will be flying into Saudi Arabia from much further afield, with three teams taking part from the USA. Europe will also be well represented with a team from Sweden and a team from Spain. Closer to home, there will also be one team from nearby Egypt taking to the roads between Hail and Riyadh.


US-based competitor Sedona Blinson, who has previously participated in Rally Jameel’s inspiration, the Rebelle Rally, said, “Taking part in Rally Jameel, for me, is an incredible way to support women who are new to the scene of off-roading and motorsports. My goal is to inspire more women to try their hand in motorsports and embrace new adventures. I am most looking forward to competing with an array of international teams and navigating the beautiful deserts of Saudi Arabia.”

The navigational rally, which is not designed as a speed test, will start in the north-central city of Hail, taking in the sites of Al- Qassim city and then heading to the capital, Riyadh, via hidden checkpoints and challenges.

The rally is open to any national and international entrant aged over 18 and holding a driving license accepted in Saudi Arabia. No special equipment is needed, as the cars are required to be totally unmodified, although they must be a 4×4 or AWD.

Abdul Latif Jameel Motors has also been encouraging local, regional, and international participation in Rally Jameel, as they target experienced drivers in motorsport.


Rally Jameel Registration Closes with 33 Teams from Around the World Set to Compete – Dr. Thuraya Obaid Becomes Latest High Profile Women to Endorse the Rally

Rally Jameel, which will now see 33 teams from around the world compete, has been honored with the endorsement of Dr. Thuraya Obaid, a key figure for women empowerment in the Kingdom.

Reinforcing 2022’s International Women’s Day’s theme of #BreakTheBias, Dr. Obaid has emphasized the reason behind her support to the Rally Jameel, which has unexpectedly gathered worldwide attention, and the progressive change it is contributing to.

“Empowerment is basically the ability of a person to make life decisions without negative pressures that prevent them from exercising this right, and thus the person is responsible for their decisions and results, both negatively or positively. It also deals with personal responsibility and its relationship to the society in which they lives,” said Dr. Thuraya.

With this in mind, Rally Jameel contributes to giving women an equal opportunity to participate in an activity that they themselves chose, trained themselves to excel in, and entered the world of national and international competition. This participation is one of the types of expression of the woman’s ability to choose her own path and activities.

On this occasion, the rally will portray women in our kingdom in an activity that we have not seen them participate in before, showing the diversity of Saudi women’s capabilities and their ability to participate in activities that were previously restricted to them,” she added.


“Young Saudi woman have made great steps in recent years, and I learned a lot about the extent of this change through speaking directly to many of these young women,” continued Dr Obaid. “I learned that they aspire to achieve and advance in education, work and social movements of all kinds, and participating in this amazing rally is just one part of this vision. I wish every young woman success in her personal path, but also in fulfilling the needs of her kingdom. This is the goal of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 – to enable the citizens, and women in particular, to decide their life path.”

Dr. Obaid was appointed head of UNFPA in 2001 as Under-Secretary General of the United Nations. Prior to this she was the Director of Division for Arab States and Europe at UNFPA and established the first women’s development programme in Western Asia. She is also one of the 30 Saudi women appointed in 2013 as members in the Shura Council (Consultative Council).

In addition to Dr. Obaid’s inspirational support, Rally Jameel has also received the backing of The Rebelle Rally, the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States. The Rebelle tests competitor’s skills over eight days of competition, with competitors driving to hidden checkpoints, ensuring they hit the right time marks and distance using just maps, a compass, and the rally roadbook.

With 33 teams from around the world, which has been an unpredictable achievement, now signed up to take part in the rally, which is being held from March 17th to 19th, the competitors have undergone a vigorous driving and navigation training session, which was held over two days at the Nakheel Makarem Resort in Jeddah.

Rally Jameel has also been sponsored by a number of crucial parties in Saudi Arabia. It has been backed by Toyota, the official car of the rally. The rally has also been sponsored by JME, as silver sponsor, and ALJ Oil, Saudi Arabia’s biggest motor oil provider, as a bronze sponsor.

Rally Jameel is a navigational rally, and so is not designed as a speed test. The rally is open to any national and international female entrant aged over 18 and holding a driving license accepted in Saudi Arabia. No special equipment is needed, as the cars are required to be totally unmodified, although they must be a 4×4 or AWD.

The organizers are keen to encourage anyone with an interest in motorsport and who would like to visit the Kingdom, to come and support the rally. The local public are also being urged to get involved and enjoy what is looking to be a popular event on the annual GCC motorsport calendar. Initiated by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), which has been actively involved since the beginning to deliver a truly unique and historic motorsport event, the rally is also organized by Bakhashab Motorsport.


Royal Backing for Rally Jameel, Saudi Arabia’s First-Ever Women-Only Motor Event

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, announced as patron of historic rally.

With the clock ticking towards the March 16th start of Saudi Arabia’s Rally Jameel, the Middle East’s first-ever women-only navigational rally, it has been announced that the historic motorsport event will be held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Ambassador to the United States.

The addition of the backing of Her Royal Highness is in keeping with the country’s Vision 2030, which aims to empower women across Saudi Arabia in all areas of society, including the field of sport. The rally is sanctioned by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) and  enjoys the support of the FIA Women in Motorsport Committee (WIMC).

Her Royal Highness has a background in promoting Saudi Arabian sporting initiatives, having previously worked as Vice President of Women’s Affairs at the Saudi General Sports Authority. In that role she developed policies and programs that benefited women and children throughout the Kingdom.


This led to Her Royal Highness being promoted to Deputy of Development and Planning, as well as being appointed as President of the Mass Participation Federation, making her the first woman to lead a multi-sports federation in the Kingdom, a role that she occupied until her appointment as Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

Her Royal Highness is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women in Sports Commission and is a member of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, commented: “It is an honor to be involved with this first-of-its-kind rally, which will shine a light on the positive steps being taken across Saudi Arabia to empower women to pursue their passions in their everyday lives. It is also fantastic to see this opportunity being made accessible to women, not only across the country but the region and globally. I am confident that all participants will enjoy a truly unique experience, enjoying our wonderful country’s hospitality and beautiful scenery.”

“We are honored to have the endorsement of Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and her support for the rally,” said Hassan Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel. “The patronage of Her Royal Highness demonstrates the progressive nature of Kingdom and its views on women’s empowerment in line with the transformative Vision 2030 framework. Undoubtedly, we believe that all sports will benefit from higher levels of interest from the region’s trailblazing women like Her Royal Highness.”

Up to 30 teams of female drivers and navigators from Saudi Arabia, the GCC and across the globe will be taking part in the rally, which will take place from 16th to 19th March. The start will be in the north-central city of Hail, passing through Al-Qassim city and then heading to the capital, Riyadh, via hidden checkpoints and challenges. Further details of the rally schedule will be announced on International Women’s Day on March 8th, while interested participants are able to submit their entry via the Rally Jameel website until March 1st.

Rally Jameel is initiated by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota) which has been actively involved since the beginning to deliver a truly unique and historic motorsport event, reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s place on the global motorsport map. The navigational women-only rally organized by Bakhashab Motorsports, is also the first-of-its-kind as it follows the Kingdom’s hosting of the Dakar Rally last January.


Limited Spaces Left as Women Sign to Rally Jameel, Saudi Arabia’s First-ever Women-Only Motorsport Event

Time is running out for women looking to take part in Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Rally Jameel, which is being held from March 16th to 19th.

Spaces are already limited as this historic, women-only navigational rally draws ever closer, with the entries set to close on March 1st.

Rally Jameel, which is initiated by Abdul Latif Jameel Motors and Bakhashab Motorsports, is the latest world-class motorsport event to be hosted in Saudi Arabia as it is sanctioned by the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) and supported by the FIA, through their Women in Motorsport (WIMC) program.


The rally is a perfect opportunity for adventurous women looking to take part in their first-ever off-road rally. The event is not designed as a speed test, rather it is about using navigational skills to traverse a route, which will cover between 300 and 500km per day. Each day’s route will only be issued the night before, with everyone taking part seeing it at the same time.

“We have been really delighted with the response from women around the region and beyond, with over half of the places already filled,” commented Abdullah Bakhashab, rally director. “But I also know there will be potential racers out there who want to take part but haven’t signed up yet. We urge them to submit their application as soon as possible, as there are only a limited number of spaces left.”


The rally, which has already attracted widespread interest, is open to national and international entrants aged over 18 and holding a driving license accepted in Saudi Arabia. Each team will consist of two female racers. No special equipment is needed, as the cars are required to be totally unmodified. The only pre-requisite is that the car must be a 4×4 or AWD.

Teams wanting to participate can simply go to the rally website – – and fill in the application form. Successful applicants will receive a weekend training course and three days of competition, as well as accommodation in 5-star hotels, a comfortable, secure camp, food and beverages, a finishing ceremony, and tickets to the gala dinner.


The uniquely designed route will pass through some of the Kingdom’s most spectacular scenery. It will start in the north-central city of Hail, passing through Al-Qassim city and then heading to the capital, Riyadh, via hidden checkpoints and challenges. Further details of the rally schedule will be announced on International Women’s Day on March 8th.

Naturally, safety is paramount at the rally. A state-of-the-art Tracking System will be mounted on each competing vehicle with SOS buttons for any emergency, while a helicopter medic and maintenance teams will be on standby at all times. All competing cars will be pre-checked to ensure they adhere to the highest standards.

Munir Khoja, ‏Managing Director Marketing Communication at Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, commented: “Abdul Latif Jameel Motors is extremely proud to be backing this great initiative, designed to further empower women in the Kingdom. We are committed to ensuring this becomes a firm fixture on the global motorsport calendar, offering women from a range of different nationalities, backgrounds, and experiences the chance to take part in a uniquely exciting event.”

With Saudi Arabia now hosting an FIA Formula One race, as well as the famous Dakar Rally, which featured Saudi female racers, Dania Akeel and Mashael Al-Obaidan, there is a growing interest in motor-related sports, especially off-road racing and rallying.


Staying Cool: Complex Cooling Systems for the Dakar Rally in the Audi RS Q e-tron

Making unbearable temperatures bearable for man and machine.

  • Complex cooling system for various assemblies and the cockpit
  • High conceptual efficiency for the desert

Riyadh, December 21, 2021 – The futuristic exterior of the Audi RS Q e-tron perfectly reflects its advanced concept with an electric all-wheel drive and an energy converter. In order to perfectly temper the complex, and in some cases, highly stressed systems, Audi has implemented an elaborate cooling system.

“Audi has never contested the Dakar Rally before. The first question we asked ourselves was: How do we get the heat out of the car?”, says Sebastian Fröber, the engineer responsible for the cooling systems, summarising the central question regarding cooling. “We started with CFD simulations for the aerodynamics of the overall vehicle. Then we designed the individual cooling systems.” Audi’s experience with complex cooling requirements, such as in the three-time Le Mans winner R18 e-tron quattro with hybrid drive or in Formula E, helped in this process.

However, the objectives are clearly different: whereas maximum aerodynamic efficiency was the priority in the Le Mans sports car, the desert prototype is about the best possible heat dissipation. Several cooling circuits ensure the right temperature.

The low-temperature circuit for the high-voltage battery (HVB)

The heart of the electric drive is the high-voltage battery system. To keep it at the right temperature, Audi uses a coolant called Novec, which does not conduct any electric currents. This low-temperature circuit has a radiator under the front hood.

The low-temperature circuit for the motor-generator units (MGU)

The combustion engine is mechanically coupled to an MGU that generates electricity for the high-voltage battery. It transfers its energy to two other MGU units – one drives the rear wheels, the other, the front wheels. When the power flow is reversed – i.e. during braking – both units recuperate energy and feed it back into the battery. These three MGU assemblies are connected via their own low-temperature circuit. It dissipates its heat via the left radiator in the front end of the vehicle. Low-temperature circuits pose a very special challenge for engineers.

While even in bright sunshine there is a good cooling effect in the much hotter high-temperature circuit and the cooling water does not begin to boil, the work for the low- temperature systems is much more difficult. “This is because 40-degree desert air only marginally cools 60-degree coolant because of the small temperature difference,” says Fröber.

The power steering and jacking circuit

An oil cooling loop is also located in the left front air duct in front of the low-temperature radiator. It circulates the hydraulic oil for the power steering, which is subjected to high loads during off-road driving. The system also supplies the two jacks on the right and left sides of the vehicle via valves in case of a puncture forced the crew to change the wheel.

The two high-temperature circuits for coolant and charge air

The drive system of the Audi RS Q e-tron also includes an energy converter. The highly efficient TFSI engine, which is positioned transversely behind the passenger seat, has a fluid circuit with a radiator. An engine oil circuit is thermally connected to this system via a heat exchanger.

Exhaust gas turbocharging requires a second cooling system: the compressed intake air flows into the engine through an intercooler. The liquid and charge air cooler sit side by side above the rear axle. The cowl on the roof divides the airflow between the two radiators. “In difficult passages, for example when crossing dunes at slow speeds, this airflow may not be sufficient,” says Sebastian Fröber. “For this reason, a fan sits behind each of the two radiators, which can extract the warm air if necessary.” The warm air then exits at the rear of the Audi RS Q e-tron.

Designed for the toughest loads

The cooling system in the Audi RS Q e-tron is designed for maximum loads. “We last secured the thermals in Morocco in November,” says Sebastian Fröber. “Carlos Sainz traversed the soft sand of a dried-up riverbed with deliberately taped cooling air intakes in a lengthy test. All systems worked flawlessly.”

Despite all the power losses evident in the cooling requirements of power units, Audi has built a rally prototype with high efficiency. In the world of motorsport, this vehicle is a milestone for long-distance driving with its electric power transmission and energy converter. The TFSI engine, which runs on around 200 kilowatts of power, is extremely efficient when operating between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm. Its specific consumption is well below 200 grams per kilowatt-hour. As a result, Mattias Ekström / Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger, and Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz in the Audi RS Q e-Tron not only hurry through the desert at the Dakar Rally at a good temperature but also very efficiently.