Mohammed ben Sulayem hopes that proposed alterations to the FIA Middle East Rally Championship will help revitalise the regional series next season by creating four additional title races to attract young driving talent and boost entries overall.
The plans are to create three new parallel championships within the series – for Group N production cars, young drivers, and two wheel drive vehicles – and also introduce a T3 category for the first time for two wheel drive and four wheel drive buggies.
They were approved by the World Rally Commission at a meeting in Paris last week and are now expected to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council, of which Sulayem is a member, next month.
The same meeting, taking place just four days after the Dubai International Rally brings the curtain down on the current season, will announce the 2013 calendar.
"Our championship has been in sharp decline in recent years and requires urgent remedial action to ensure its survival and strong future," said Ben Sulayem, the president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the organisers of the Dubai International Rally, taking place from 30 November to 1 December.
"Over the last year, I have tasked my team to research our needs and come up with a new strategic approach to breathe life back into our only FIA championship in the region.
"We will be implementing … initiatives next season which are aimed at increasing the interest and awareness of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship going forward."
Ben Sulayem is confident the new T3 class, which will allow FIA cross-country homologated vehicles to compete, will draw more local interest.
"They will make championship rallying much more accessible for many people because of the cost, and buggies will be especially attractive to young drivers," he said.
In another move to reverse the trend of falling entries in recent years, the approved period of some older rally cars is being extended, giving a new lease of life to vehicles – and their drivers – which fell out of the series but are now eligible to continue competing until 2016.
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE