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The Dubai International Baja is the oldest motorsport event in the UAE, being staged annually since the late 1970s and organized by the ATCUAE since 1997. Until 2015, the event was known as the Dubai International Rally and staged as a round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, being won by such drivers as Nasser Al Attiyah, Saeed Al Hajri, Khalid Al Qassimi and Bjorn Waldegård. Current ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem holds the record for most wins, taking 15 victories between 1985 and 2002.

As a result of the rapid development of infrastructure in the UAE, the area available for traditional special stage rallying in Dubai has been greatly reduced since the events heyday in the 1980’s and 1990’s. For this reason, as well as to capitalize on the growing preference and demand for cross country rallying in the region, in early 2016, the ATCUAE and Dubai Government took the decision to reformat the event into one for cross country cars and motorcycles, and elevate it from a regional to a world level status.

Following a successful candidate event in December 2016, the 2017 Dubai International Baja will take place as a round of both the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies (alongside the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge) and the FIM Baja World Cup. The event is scheduled for the 9th to 10th March 2018.