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Start your (electric) engines, it’s race day at Ad Diriyah

22 electric-powered racing cars will hurtle round a 2.5 km track at Ad Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh on Saturday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia takes another giant step into the future on Saturday when 22 electric-powered racing cars hurtle round a 2.5 km track at Ad Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh.

The 2018 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix is a first — not just for Saudi Arabia, but for the Middle East — and race fans have been flocking to the event since Thursday.

And as thousands have discovered, you don’t have to be a motor-racing enthusiast to have a good time. The party began with a concert on Thursday night featuring Jason Derulo and Enrique Iglesias, and continued on Friday with Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas. The final concert on Saturday will be headlined by OneRepublic and David Guetta.

As if that were not enough, a horse corral, a maze and a virtual reality biking station were some of the attractions on offer at the family zone at the event.

“The amount of effort that must have gone into setting this up is extraordinary,” said visitor Abla Qanaq. “The variety of options is almost overwhelming. I’m not even sure where I want to start.”

Visitors in the VIP hospitality section had the opportunity to ride camels, sample local staples of dates and Arabic coffee, and experience local customs such as traditional wedding marches.

“I’m glad they realized the importance of including a local touch in an event like this,” said visitor Alaa Al-Dawsari. “Especially with so many foreigners coming from all over the world. It’s amazing that we were able to present Saudi Arabia like this.”

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