Gumball 3000 to visit Albania

TIRANA (AP) – The Gumball 3000 Rally – the celebrity-packed, high-speed dash across Europe in a variety of souped-up vehicles – will include Albania in its route this year, as organizers attempt to help the tiny Balkan country promote tourism. Racers have seven days from April 29 to cover 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) through 17 countries. The 120 cars to participate include several Bugatti Veyrons, Ferrari Enzos, Lamborghinis, customized Rolls Royces, the A-Team van and even a Turkish taxi, organizer Jonny Dodge said by telephone from London, where Gumball is headquartered. Albania was added to this year’s ninth annual race by request from the United Nations. «We always try to go to smaller countries, unheard of, bringing celebrities, socialites and business executives to attract the world attention,» Dodge said. With UN agencies working to support Albania’s development and integration into the European Union, the international rally was seen as a way to bring attention to the country’s potential as an eco- and cultural-tourism destination, UN Resident Coordinator Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett wrote in a letter to Gumball. Prime Minister Sali Berisha said he was «delighted» to support «such an interesting event, which fits perfectly with our strategy to encourage international events and foreign visitors.» Berisha also planned to host a dinner for celebrities, likely to include American actress Pamela Anderson, British singer Robbie Williams and others, Dodge said. The race route begins this year with a party and car show in London. Drivers head first for Amsterdam, then wind their way through a series of checkpoints in countries including Germany, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Croatia and Slovakia before returning to London. The rally was named after a 1970s road race – in which the prize was a gumball machine – that inspired the movies «Gumball Rally» and «Cannonball Run.» The rally has drawn attention and criticism in equal measure, with some past participants involved in accidents or arrested for speeding. The rally costs 10,000 pounds ($19,685) to enter.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.