The Paris-Persepolis Eco-Rally will be held in May 2016, ending a two-year hiatus, managing director of Gran Tourism Organization, Pascal Rastani, confirmed.
Rastani said unfavorable international climate and western-imposed economic sanctions made it difficult for GTO to hold the event in October 2014, as it was initially planned, ISNA reported.
“But now, thanks to the collaboration between Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization and the Touring and Automobile Club of Iran, the rally will be held in the coming May,” he said.
The first, and so far only, eco-rally was held in 1971, but political conditions made it almost impossible to hold the event on a regular basis.
In March 2014, French organizers of the rally traveled to Iran and rescheduled the competition. Finding sponsors proved difficult as most were not entirely sure of the security of their investment.
“Following the signing of the nuclear accord [on July 14 in Vienna], global perception of Iran began to change, which facilitated the event,” Rastani said.
The financial sponsor of the eco-rally has promised to give prominent media coverage to the Iranian part of the event. The 6,000-km route of the rally runs through Europe, Turkey and Iran. It is divided into 11 intervals and ends in Persepolis, Fars Province.
“The rally is a broad celebration of the move toward clean and safe technology in transport, which is taking place not just in Iran but all around the world,” reads a statement on the event’s website.
“The diversity of the vehicles participating in the event underlines the breadth of the shift to more sustainable forms of transport. Participants will experience great moments of driving pleasure through beautiful landscapes, roads and lands from Paris, Stuttgart, Vienna, Bucharest, Istanbul, Nevsehir, Arzrom, Tabriz, Tehran, Isfahan to Persepolis near the beautiful city of Shiraz.”
In addition to promoting environmental sustainability and road safety, the eco-rally aims to cross cultural barriers and bring the international community closer.