Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman sees Diriyah create history

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman sees Diriyah create history

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Attends Formula E race; mixes up with people; thousands invited to witness the historic event held at Saudi soil

RIYADH, DEC 16 (DNA) – Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, attended the finale of the Ad Diriyah E-Prix championship race on the outskirts of Riyadh. He was accompanied by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed and Bahraini Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman mingled with the crowd and posed for selfies with many of the attendees.

Portuguese Antonio Felix da Costa held off a late charge from defending world champion Jean-Eric Vergne to win the opening race of the Formula E season.

DS Techeetah’s Vergne snatched the lead at the halfway stage of the Ad Diriyah E-Prix but a drive-through penalty meant he finished second behind BMW Andretti’s Da Costa, with Jerome D’Ambrosio completing the podium for Mahindra Racing.

The city-based single-seater series began its fifth season with a first-ever race in Saudi Arabia, which also saw the debut of the Gen2 car that can hit a top speed of 280 kph and will have sufficient battery power to last an entire race. Previously, drivers have had to stop and change cars.

“It’s amazing, it’s been tough, it’s been long months of work and I am really happy with that,” the 27-year-old winner said.

After some thrilling overtaking, Brazilian former Formula One driver Felipe Massa came home 14th in his first ePrix with Venturi.

Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, who said farewell to McLaren F1 for a seat at HWA Racelab, finished in 17th place.

It may be mentioned here that thousands of people from across the globe thronged the landmark Formula E championship.

The pre-race events continued to attract tens of thousands of people.

The Formula E is an International Circuit event organised by an international sport body.  It is the first time that event is being held in Riyard Saudi Arabia and various organisations including several ministries and associations are involved.Thousands throng to Formula E landmark event being held in Riyadh

To facilitate the guests adequately the Saudi authorities established various help desks. Even at the airport, the Formula e visitors were given special treatment.

As part to celebrate this occasion, the Saudi authorities from all sectors invited their friends to witness the atmosphere and environment and of course the competition also.

Three journalists from Pakistan including the Editor of DNA news agency Ansar Mahmood Bhatti attended the event.

All the hype surrounding Formula E sent a wave of excitement through the streets that you could sense as you approached the Allianz E-Village, an electronic village with reality toys galore that will take you to the another world.

Thrilled visitors who had come early had the advantage of avoiding the crowds and the busy queues as they paced their way through the village. However due to a large number of visitors, guests had to stand in long queues to get into the village.

The Formula E-Prix took up the whole of Ad Diriyah, a family zone and cultural village. The best way to move around was by one of the many buses that transports visitors to the security checks. The visitors ostensibly had to face some hiccups also however the authorities were quick to take on bottlenecks within no time.

Authorities said certain difficulties were witnessed only because it was the first mega event being held in Riyadh. The officials said the lessons learnt from these experiences will help them conduct the event even in a more efficient manner next time.

On the ride to the cultural village at dusk you could see the place all lit up with twinkling fairy lights. It was magical and beautiful. One person on the bus gushed at the beauty of it, the mixing of the old and the new, the cultural and the technological.

People were dancing in the crowds singing to the lyrics, and once the DJ stopped the music you could hear the crowds scream with excitement. The jam packed venue of concert spoke volumes for the interest of people for such events.

First-time concert-goer Yara Saud, an 18-year-old college student, had been waiting for this event since it was announced. Being a huge fan of Jason Derulo, she said: “I can’t believe that I’m attending my favorite artist’s concert in my home town. This is Crazy!”

“Saudi whassap. This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” said Jason Derulo, who put up a thrilling performance equally enjoyed by the locals and those came from across the globe.

As a special treat for his Saudi audience he gave the first performance of a new song, stating on the stage that his mother taught him to never visit empty handed: This was his gift to Saudi Arabia.

It was truly a unique experience of witnessing Saudi people mingling, dancing, singing and enjoying themselves in a huge outdoor area.

The entire venue was decorated with clourful lights. Numerous food outlets and stalls set up by various companies added colour to the event.=DNA