MERC Qatar Rally officials make minor changes to MERC opener

2009 NBK Qatar International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1

For immediate release
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008


DOHA (Qatar): Officials at the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) in Doha have now finalised the route format for the 2009 NBK Qatar International Rally, which will be the opening round of the 2009 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC). The event will be based at the Losail International Circuit, north of Doha, and takes place on January 22nd-24th, 2009.

Clerk of the course Elie Semaan has been forced to make minor changes to the route that was highly-acclaimed by competitors and FIA officials in January 2008, but the competitive action will again be centred around the deserts to the north of Doha over two days. In a total route of 618.90km, 259.60km will be competitive.

Special stages in the Losail and Timbak areas will be used for the opening leg on Friday, January 23rd, with three stages running twice, starting between 09.14hrs and 14.35hrs. There will be a further eight timed stages on Saturday, January 24th, with the route running around the Losail, Al-Khor and Ras Laffan areas of the Qatar desert.

Action on leg two is scheduled to get underway from 08.07hrs, with the final Losail special starting at 14.25hrs. The ceremonial finish is scheduled for 15.30hrs and post-event formalities will follow at the Losail International Circuit, while the official rally hotel will be the Movenpick Suites and Tower in Doha.

"We were given excellent feedback by teams and FIA officials last year when it came to our special stages," said Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, President of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF). "They were well defined, in excellent condition and all safety aspects were adhered to. Safety is an important factor on any event and we pride ourselves with our ability to run top class motor sport events in Qatar, even though we are always looking for ways to improve and progress."

Generous concessions and an assistance package are being offered to GCC and Middle Eastern entrants. International teams will receive free accommodation (room and breakfast) for six nights in a twin-bedded room for driver and co-driver. Competitors will be permitted to check in the designated rally hotel at noon on Monday, January 19th and must check out by noon on Sunday, January 25th.

GCC competitors will also receive cash assistance to the value of $500 USD for starting the rally and finishing the first three special stages. Other Middle East entrants will also receive a similar cash incentive. Entries for the event have now opened and will close for reduced fees on Thursday, January 1st. The final deadline for entrants will be Thursday, January 8th.
For further information about the 2009 NBK Qatar International Rally, contact the Qatar Motor and Motor Cycle Federation (QMMF), PO Box 8708, Doha, Qatar, Tel: + 974 437 9884/9885, Fax: + 974 437 9761, E-mail: info@qmmf.com and website: www.qmmf.com

Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International Press Officer, 2009 NBK Qatar International Rally, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)


Date issued: 17/12/2008

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