Saudi Arabia confirmed as WRC round for 2025

Jeddah-based event will run as a test event and a qualifying round for the first time next year


Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as the final round of next year’s World Rally Championship in a decade-long agreement between the Middle Eastern nation and the series promoter.

The Jeddah-based event’s long-term future in the WRC was announced in Sardinia on Saturday by HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the Saudi Motorsport Company. 

A day after taking to the passenger seat alongside Thierry Neuville during shakedown for Rally Italy Sardinia, the Prince talked of Saudi’s achievement in adding the WRC to what’s already one of the world’s strongest motorsport portfolios – but also underlined the importance of world rallying in delivering Vision 2030, a government program aimed at increasing economic, social and cultural diversification.

Talking about the event which will return the WRC to the Middle East for the first time since Rally Jordan in 2011, he said: “We are thrilled to host the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time in 2025. The arrival of another racing series of global stature in Saudi Arabia confirms the extent of our transformation into a major hub for motorsport in the region.

“From 2025 we will proudly host Formula 1, Formula E, Extreme E, the Dakar Rally and now WRC and Rally Saudi Arabia in the Kingdom – an extraordinary accomplishment.

“By growing our motorsport portfolio and further increasing our commitment to hosting major motorsport series such as WRC in the Kingdom, we remain true to the goals of Vision 2030 which aims to improve the lives of all Saudis.


Thierry Neuville gave HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal a taste of WRC in action on Rally Italy Sardinia's Friday shakedown test

“We will use the experience we have gained from delivering so many world-class motorsport events to ensure that the Saudi edition on the WRC calendar is one of the standout events of the 2025 season and beyond.”

The event will make history in the WRC, potentially running as both a candidate and a qualifying round of the championship in the same season – naturally, the test rally will have to fulfill the FIA’s sporting criteria early in 2025 before making a full calendar slot in late November.

Running through three distinctly different backdrops of mountains, volcanoes and deserts, Rally Saudi Arabia will offer a unique challenge in the WRC.

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia - Practice

Saudi Arabia has hosted a Formula 1 race at Jeddah's Corniche Circuit since 2021

WRC Promoter event director Simon Larkin said the Saudi event delivered on the plan to globalize the series.

“This completes the set for us,” said Larkin. “We’ve brought back Kenya, Acropolis, we’re back in Japan again and now we’re going to Middle East. We’re all aware of the plans in the USA in 2026, that’s going to happen. We’ve been out to [Saudi] quite a few times now and the pictures and the story we’ll be able to tell are really exciting.”

It’s planned the test event will run as the opening round of next year’s Middle East Rally Championship.

Jordan Rally, Dead Sea 13-16 04 2011

Sébastien Ogier was the last driver to win a Middle East round of the World Rally Championship in Jordan, 2011

“That means the Middle East [Rally] Championship will be bookended by what we feel will be a very high-quality test event and the WRC round itself.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “This is a great moment for motorsport in the Middle East. It has been over a decade since the FIA World Rally Championship last visited the region, and from my own experience, I know very well the unique challenges that the drivers and co-drivers will face when Rally Saudi Arabia gets underway in 2025.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for national and regional drivers to showcase their talents on the world stage, and I am very thankful to Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal for continuing to push forward and develop our sport in Saudi Arabia.”

The promoter’s intention is to have the full 2025 WRC calendar ready for FIA inspection later this month with an announcement early in July.