Cross-Country Rallies – Saudi Arabia hosts the FIA World Cup title decider


Hail Rally, the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies

The spectacular deserts of Saudi Arabia and the Hail Rally (December 7-11) are the setting for the final and decisive round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. While some of the Cups have already been decided, the fight for the outright titles will take centre stage when the crews start the four-day Middle East curtain-closer.

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel currently head the standings and will be all-out to add another title to an ever-growing list of awards sealed around the world. Al-Attiyah, who has already won the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies four times, heads the provisional entry list in his Toyota Hilux. He and co-driver Baumel - who has won the title three times - hold a 28 point advantage and, with 31 points available on this event, the Qatari/French pairing only need to finish and bag a couple of maximum leg points to clinch the title.

Lucio Alvarez and Armand Monleon go head-to-head with the multiple title winners as they eye one of the biggest prizes of their careers. The Argentinean/Spanish duo will be in similar Overdrive machinery and need to focus on a top haul of points in Saudi Arabia before seeing how the competition with Al-Attiyah plays out.

Yazeed Al Rajhi, the winner of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas*, will be flying the flag for Saudi Arabia in another Hilux Overdrive. With Britain’s Michael Orr alongside him, the national hero will be looking for a maiden win in the series this season ahead of the Dakar Rally, which is once again hosted on his home territory and launches next year’s inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.

Denis Krotov, co-driven by Konstantin Zhiltsov, is fourth in the standings in a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy, four points adrift of Al-Rajhi, and he starts just ahead of fellow Russian, Vladimir Vasilyev. The BMW X5 driver, and Oleg Uperenko, sandwich another Buggy in the hands of Jakub Przygonski and Timo Gottschalk with Miroslav Zapletal and Marek Sykora returning in a Ford F150 Evo. X-Raid will be represented by Argentina’s Sebastian Halper and Spaniard Laia Sanz in MINI John Cooper Works Buggy and Rally machinery respectively. Halpern has enjoyed solid results this season and Sanz will make one further preparatory outing in the MINI ahead of her debut Dakar Rally on four wheels. She has former motorcycle racer and experienced navigator Maurizio Gerini alongside her.

In T2, four Saudi Arabian drivers will be vying for honours in Nissan Patrols, while the T3 and T4 categories will once again be hotly contested. Cristina Gutierrez, who has already won the T3 Drivers’ title*, will not be competing on the Hail Rally but eight contenders, headed by Pavel Lebedev, will be looking to round out the season with a top result. Dania Akeel, who has won the category in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas*, also joins the field on her home round ahead of her inaugural outing on the Dakar.  In T4, six Can-Am Maverick crews are scheduled to take the start, with Molly Taylor – a former Australian Rally Champion – also looking to gain more experience as another Dakar debutant.

* All titles are subject to the official confirmation of the results by the FIA.


Total distance   

1,753 km

Selective section distance:

969 km

Number of selective sections:




Nasser Al Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel

Toyota Hilux

Lucio Alvarez/Armand Monleon

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Denis Krotov/Konstantin Zhiltsov

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

Vladimir Vasilyev/Oleg Uperenko


Jakub Przygonski/Timo Gottschalk

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

Miroslav Zapletal/Marek Sykora

Ford F150 Evo

Sebastian Halpern/Bernardo Graue

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

Laia Sanz/Maurizio Gerini

MINI John Cooper Works Rally



Monday December 6



From 09:30 hrs


Tuesday December 7


Pre-event press conference

16:00 hrs

Ceremonial Start

18:00 hrs


Wednesday December 8 – Leg 1


Start of SS1 (258.14 kilometres)

08:33 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

13:16 hrs


Thursday December 9 – Leg 2


Start of SS2 (314.00 kilometres)

08:48 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

14:33 hrs


Friday December 10 – Leg 3


Start of SS3 (249.00 kilometres)

09:48 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

14:14 hrs


Saturday December 11 – Leg 4


Start of SS4 (148.00 kilometres)

09:18 hrs

First car arrives Parc Fermé

13:09 hrs

Post event press conference

17:30 hrs

Prize-Giving Ceremony

19:00 hrs

FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies – Classifications: