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10 Nov 2023
  • What is the aim of this collaboration between DFC, Dubai International Baja and the Al-Futtaim Group?
  • Who are the entry drivers?

Dubai Festival City plays host to the stars of off-road rallying next week as the Dubai International Baja concludes the 2023 FIA and FIM World Cup series.

In an exciting new innovation, this year’s event will begin with a night-time prologue stage on Friday (10th November) as the competitors race over two kilometres in Dubai Festival City against the spectacular backdrop of the Dubai skyline.

It’s a unique opportunity for Dubai motorsport fans to experience the heart-pounding sights and sounds of Baja off-road cars, bikes and quads in all their forms the night before the competitors head into the Al Qudra desert for legs one and two on Saturday and Sunday.

This is the second year that Dubai Festival City has been the event hub for the competitors who will begin and end each day in the Middle East’s largest mixed-use development where all elements for work, living and leisure are contained within a single location.



The partnership with Dubai Festival City is part of a wider collaboration between Dubai International Baja and the Al-Futtaim Group which includes key logistical support from official Automotive Partner Al-Futtaim Toyota, also in the form of Toyota vehicles for event organisers.

Dubai International Baja HQ, Service Park, Parc Ferme, Documentation, Podium Ceremony, and Media Centre will be located at Festival City Mall.

The Emirates Motorsport Organization (EMSO) event kicks off on Friday with the Prologue immediately after the opening ceremony at 18:20, which will present all of the competitors on the start ramp in Festival Bay, overlooking the fountain.

The cars, bikes and quads will then go straight into the 2km prologue over a specially designed route next to the mall, on the waterfront, which has as its backdrop the imposing and colourful cityscape of Dubai.

The floodlit stage route set against the lights from the city is sure to make for a memorable and unique occasion in off-road motorsport, as well as establishing the early classification and the starting order for Saturday’s Leg 1.

Khalid Ben Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsport Organization (EMSO): “We are delighted to be able to bring the best of off-road Baja rallying to the heart of the city, and on this occasion and for the first time ever in the UAE, for the fans to enjoy as a night event.

This spectacular innovation is only possible thanks to the great support from Al Futtaim Toyota and Al Futtaim Group, which immediately took on the challenge when we presented the idea to them. Festival City is a family-friendly sports and social destination that tics all the boxes as it provides the perfect backdrop for the rally’s qualifier stage and, at the same time, gives spectators a wonderful opportunity to see these amazing machines and competitors in full flight.”

In line with the vision of the Dubai Government of building upon community engagement, in 2022, a vast crowd of people came to Festival City to enjoy the rally action and celebrate the UAE National Day, and after such a successful first edition in this modern and strategically located venue, this seventh edition of the Dubai International Baja is poised to be a real thrill.

Competitors list

Competitors list

The entry list among the cars is headed by 2-time FIA World Rally-Raid Champion and 18-time Middle East Rally Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah with his new Prodrive Hunter facing the challenge of the last year’s winner Yazeed Al Rajhi of Saudi Arabia and his Toyota Overdrive teammate, Argentina’s Juan Cruz Yacopini.

The motorcycle entry features a fascinating three-way competition for FIM Bajas World Cup Honours between the UAE’s local hero Mohammed Al Balooshi (Yamaha) and Portuguese riders David Megre (Kawasaki) and Pedro Bianchi Prata (Honda).

The Dubai International Baja takes place under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

In cooperation with Automotive partner Al Futtaim Toyota, Dubai Festival City, Energy Partner ENOC, and Al Ain Water. The rally is also supported by the Dubai Government and its entities Dubai Police, RTA, Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Customs, Dubai Civil Defense, Wild Affairs Region Department, Dubai Media and Dubai Sport TV.

The 2023 edition of this desert classic event kicks off in Festival City in Dubai on Friday, 10th November, with the evening prologue stage offering spectators a chance to see all of the competitors in action ahead of Saturday and Sunday’s cross-country legs.

Motor 283

BY Motor 283

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