Stars in supercars tackle 20km hill in Jebel Jais for Gumball 3000

The annual celebrity motor rally hits the Middle East for the first time

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The 23rd Gumball 3000 Rally is the first to be held in the Middle East.

The annual celebrity car race, which was founded in 1999 by British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper, takes thousands of high-speed motors on a journey around the world.

Its first regional outing began on Saturday with a live concert for "Gumballers" and fans, before the team dropped the flag in Downtown Dubai and started the adventure.

The route took drivers to Oman with stops in Jebel Akhdar, Salalah and Muscat and on Thursday they hit Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah for a 20-kilometre hill climb.

More than 100 supercars, grid cars and celebrity drivers sped through the winding roads as spectators looked on from the Jebel Jais viewing deck.

On Friday, the crew head to Abu Dhabi for a weekend of VIP hospitality at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is marking the finale of the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Rally fans will be able to watch the cars cross the finish line at the W Hotel on the practice day of the final race.

The Gumball team will then host parties throughout the weekend and award the Spirit of Gumball Trophy at the Gumball Awards.

The idea for the Gumball Rally, the name for which comes from the 1976 film of the same name, began in May 1999, when Cooper invited some influential friends on a "road trip" across Europe, hosting parties attended by the likes of Kate Moss, Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue, Tony Hawk and Johnny Knoxville.

It soon became a must-do on the annual calendar among the social elite, according to the society pages at the time. It then evolved into a popular brand and global entertainment company and Gumball 3000 is now a collection of companies that includes an apparel brand and a registered charity.

It's still best known as the annual 3,000-mile (4,828km) international celebrity motor rally, which takes place on public roads all around the world.

Scroll through the gallery below to see F1 drivers arriving in Abu Dhabi for the Grand Prix this weekend

Updated: November 17, 2022, 1:44 PM