Held for the first year in the United Arab Emirates, on November 10 and 11, 2017, the first edition of the Chopard Classic Rally Dubai, a challenging competitive regularity rally, came to a close Saturday evening after two days of rigorous test of timing and navigational skills. Organized by Chopard, along with partner Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and Emaar Properties, the Chopard Classic Rally Dubai brought together 60 classic cars aficionados coming from the United Arab Emirates, Gulf region, Europe and the United States. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard Co-President and a passionate driver of collectors’ cars, took part in this first edition, competing along with legendary pilot Jacky Ickx.
Challenging itinerary throughout the UAE
The competition started from the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai on November 10, which is set in the heart of Emaar’s mega-development Downtown Dubai. The 30 teams of drivers and co-drivers drove their vintage automobiles towards the northern emirates passing by Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah. The first day route was exciting with two stops; one at Hatta Fort, which is nestled on the foothills of the beautiful Hajar Mountains. Another stop was at the Mleiha Archaeological Centre based around the history and archaeology of the areas surrounding the village of Mleiha in Sharjah.
The rally map of the second day followed a different thrilling route towards Ras Al Khaimah and included several stops highlighting an array of breath-taking natural vistas in Ras Al Khaimah including the UAE’s highest mountain Jebel Jais, dubbed the adventure tourism hub of the Middle East.
Winners announced at the closing dinner ceremony
The closing ceremony and dinner took place at Armani Hotel Dubai. Chopard Co-President Karl Friedrich Scheufele and the racing driver Jacky Ickx awarded the winners of the regularity rally. The first place team, driver and co-driver, received the limited edition of the L.U.C Time Traveler One Time of the desert. Produced in a 20-piece limited series with a refined sand colour dial recalling the golden sun-soaked dunes of the UAE, this timekeeper with its exceptional finishing is an indispensable instrument for the Emirati gentleman traveler embracing the world.
Awards were also given to the second and third place teams’ winners along with two special categories: Spirit of the Rally and Best in show classic car.
Talking about this first edition, Karl Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard Co-President said:”It is impressive how vibrant the classic car scene is in the Middle East. There are collectors just as passionate and knowledgeable here as anywhere in the world.” He added, “Chopard is proud to have organized this classic rally in the UAE. We hope that it will be a regular fixture on the regional and global classic car calendar”.
Prestigious partners sharing the same enthusiasm for classic cars
Commenting on this regularity rally, Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holding said: “The Chopard Classic Rally is a remarkable display of the brand’s enthusiasm and appreciation for fine workmanship. Beautifully executed, the event brought together an esoteric group of individuals passionate about mechanics and aesthetics. As a long-standing partner of Chopard, Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons would like to congratulate all parties involved for a successful event and we look forward to the development of this endeavor”.
From his side, Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director of Emaar Properties, said: “Flagging off the event and hosting the closing ceremony in Downtown Dubai underlines the commitment of Emaar to support world-class events that add to the pride of our nation. The Chopard Classic Rally was highlighted by the strong participation of classic car enthusiasts, demonstrating the passion that collectors have towards automobiles that chronicle the history of the automotive industry. Emaar shares the same passion for classic cars and in celebrating these elegant vehicles.”
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), CEO, Haitham Mattar states: «Ras Al Khaimah’s Jebel Jais provides the ideal location for the culmination of this iconic and prominent event. Long favoured by motorists for its numerous hairpin bends and dramatic vistas from the UAE’s tallest peak, the Jebel Jais mountain road is sure to come alive for Chopard’s inaugural two-day rally.” He added, “The emirate presents a wealth of up-scale and luxurious hotels and resorts, coupled with unique experiences from its 64km of pristine coastline, across our terracotta deserts, and the adventures on Jebel Jais itself, suited perfectly to the prestigious Chopard Classic Rally.»
Talking about Michelin’s partnership, Daoud Helmi, Commercial Director, Gulf countries for Michelin comments: “At the heart of our participation in motorsports and rally events is the desire to showcase better products for everyday motorists as well as for classic cars”. He added, “We are pleased to partner with Chopard in this first Classic Car Rally in Dubai. A tyre innovator for more than 120 years, Michelin is committed to preserving the automobile industry’s heritage as a whole.”
Assyl Yacine, Head of Tomini Classics, Dubai’s premier classic car showroom and gallery and one of the participants in the rally stated: “It has been a real pleasure for Tomini Classics to be so actively involved in this event. The 2017 Chopard Classic Rally – Dubai has been a major milestone in fueling the passion for vintage motoring here in the Gulf; we hope it becomes the first of many classic car events to come in the near future.”
A passion for Classic Racing
“People say that lovers of fine cars also have a great weakness for fine timepieces and vice versa. In both cases, sporting elegance and outstanding performance are especially important. ” The words given in 1988 by Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele – himself a dedicated classic car enthusiast – upon launching the first Mille Miglia collection, ring as true today as ever. The brand’s participation in many famous classic rallies embodies a unique relationship between Chopard and racing. The close ties between these two worlds have been strengthened ever since, largely due to the impressive number of common denominators that naturally draw them together. These include constant innovation, a tireless quest for performance and excellence, unfailing respect for traditions, the supreme importance of details – and of course a shared passion for mechanical engineering.