According to Mishaal Al-Sudairy, the President of the SAMF, the total distance of this year's event is 834km, with 509km being run on selective sections through the An Nufud desert in the north-central region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Road sections will total 325km.
"We have made around 15% changes to the first stage and modified the start of the second stage, but the rest is similar," admitted Al-Sudairy.
The Saudi Arabian Motor Federation runs Saudi Arabia's premier off-road motor sport event as a partnership with the Supreme Commission for Ha'il Development. The organising committee has now agreed an exciting deal with Toyota to be the official car for the Saudi Hail Baja and Abdul Latif Jameel, the Toyota dealer, is the diamond sponsor for this year's rally.
The exciting sponsorship tie-in was announced recently in Saudi Arabia by Prince Abdullah bin Khaled bin Abdullah Al-Saud, the deputy of the Supreme Commission for Ha'il Development, Mishaal Al-Sudairy and Faisal Abdullah, vice-president of Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Toyota.
"I would like to thank the Supreme Commission for Ha'il Development for their invaluable ongoing support and partnership to enable us to run the Ha'il Baja. I would also like to welcome Toyota on board as a valuable sponsor for this year's Baja,"
Faisal Abdullah also confirmed that ALJ-Toyota has its own Toyota Rally Team Saudi Arabia and will participate in the Saudi Arabia Ha'il Baja using Toyota FJ Cruisers. Two versions of the new Toyota have been developed - a Toyota FJ Cruiser Proto and a Toyota FJ Cruiser Racer.
Saleh Al-Saleh will drive the Saudi Arabian-built FJ Cruiser Racer with co-driver Amr Al-Refai. The Toyota FJ Cruiser Proto has been built in Europe, specifically for events like the Saudi Ha'il Baja.
Competitive action gets underway with a timed Prologue stage on Tuesday, February 16th. Legs two and three will run through the An Nafud desert to the north and west of Ha'il on Wednesday, February 17th and Thursday, February 18th.