Turkey hosts two big rally races - one this weekend, followed by another next month - as the country looks to position itself as a top destination for international motor racing events.
The 9th TransAnatolia, Turkey's only cross-country rally, will kick off on Aug. 24. Dozens of local and international racers will compete in the event that will end on Aug. 31.
The participants will compete in a 2,300-kilometer route, starting off from the shores of scenic Lake Abant in northern Turkey and finishing in southeastern Turkey's Göbeklitepe, one of the country's most popular archaeological sites and home to the world's oldest temple.
The scenic route will take the racers through forests in the Black Sea region, to a vast stretch of salt flats in central Turkey, before reaching Göbeklitepe.
The rally also covers a route stretching through central Turkey's Cappadocia, known for its iconic volcanic rock formations or fairy chimneys.
TransAnatolia General Coordinator Burak Büyükpınar said more than 150 racers, of whom half are foreigners, will compete in the event.
He said a French team would be joining the rally for the first time this year. "Yves Tartarin, a racer with Dakar Rally experience, will be here," he added. The rally has truck, car and motorcycle categories.
Later on Sept. 12, the southwestern resort town of Marmaris will host the 11th leg of the World Rally Championship (WRC). The most prestigious racing event after Formula 1, the WRC covers 14 countries. Turkey was included as one of the rally stages last year.