Fans flocked to the Diriyah Circuit in Saudi Arabia today as Formula E racing ignited the Kingdom’s biggest-ever celebration of sports and entertainment as ‘lights go green’ on the Diriyah Season.
Months of preparation came down to 1.3 seconds as Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird held on for victory in race one of the doubleheader, beating Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E racer Andre Lotterer who came second and Stoffel Vandoorne of Mercedes who took third.
including His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman joined fans who flocked to see motorsport history with the biggest ever field of cars and drivers, and Porsche and Mercedes making their Formula E debut on the Diriyah Circuit.
The SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix heralded the start of season six of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and this year marks a huge moment for the Kingdom with the Diriyah Season, a month of epic sporting events.
HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA) of Saudi Arabia said: “Once again Formula E makes history in the Kingdom with its biggest race ever, more cars, more drivers, and more action. And once again the Diriyah Circuit has proven it is one of the finest Formula E tracks in the world.
“Saudi Arabia has taken this event to our hearts and it is now a calendar event for the Kingdom which everyone looks forward to. My congratulations to Sam Bird and my thanks to all the drivers for giving us such a thrilling day of action. Now they have to prepare to do it all again tomorrow.”
Even before fans reached the track created in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, racegoers were greeted by the Allianz E-Village offering exciting attractions with the biggest fan zone of the global Formula E championship.
“I’m visiting Diriyah to see my first Formula E race. I’m blown away with how much there is to experience along with the race. The E-village especially is spectacular,” said tourist Ehab from Egypt.
Earlier in the day Saudi Arabia’s Reema Juffali had made history becoming the first woman to compete in the Kingdom, driving in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, the support race to the Formula E championship.
After a respectable qualifying lap, the young racer from Jeddah finished her first-ever electric street race having climbed up to eighth place before focusing on crossing the finish line. Waving at a cheering crowd as she completed her first race in the Kingdom, a smiling Juffali may have finished at the back of the pack but made history doing so.
As well as action on the track and the Diriyah Oasis fans were excited for the curtain to rise on the Diriyah Music festival, with Imagine Dragons, DJ Alan Walker and Clean Bandit set to perform at the after-race concert tonight.
Tomorrow promises more excitement with another day of racing as Formula E and Jaguar I-PACE racing returns. As well as the astonishing Diriyah Oasis and the thrilling racing, fans can enjoy fine dining and designer retail in the upscale Bujairi Experience.