MERC Misfer Al Marri leads Qatar Rally Team bid in Doha
2009 NBK Qatar International Rally
2009 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1
For immediate release
Monday, January 19th 2008
MISFER AL-MARRI LEADS QATAR RALLY TEAM BID INTO SEASON OPENER
· Former regional champion Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani returns to MERC
· Opening round of regional series attracts 14 Qatari rally teams
DOHA (Qatar): Thirty-four of the leading rally teams in the Middle East have entered the NBK Qatar International Rally, the opening round of the 2009 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, taking place in the deserts around Losail on January 22nd-24th.
Not surprisingly, Qatari drivers dominate the entry for the two-day, all-gravel rally, which gained praise across the board last year for its slick organisation, excellent special stages and innovative rally headquarters within the confines of Qatar’s premier race circuit. The Qatar Rally Team, which runs under the umbrella of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) has an excellent chance of taking outright victory in the event this year and fields two cars.
Misfer Al-Marri has replaced Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah as the figure-head driver in the team and has attracted the services of Ulsterman Chris Patterson, the defending champion co-driver. Al-Marri’s Subaru Impreza N14 will be prepared and run on the event by Ken Skidmore’s Autotek Motorsport operation and Al-Marri is confident that he can match and beat his great local rival, Al-Attiyah, this time.
Al-Marri joins forces in the Qatar Rally Team on this occasion with Khalid Al-Suwaidi and Nasser Al-Kuwari, in a second Subaru Impreza N14. Al-Suwaidi showed his potential on the event in January 2008 and was inside the top five for long periods.
Khalifa Khalifa Al-Attiyah and Rashid Al-Sulaiti will also be hoping for success on their home round of the regional championship. Al-Attiyah has been a regular face on rounds of the series and has a useful turn of speed. He will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX in Qatar.
Former co-driver Mubarak Al-Hajri switched to driving several years ago and then took a rest from motor sport to concentrate on business commitments. But the Qatari – the cousin of former regional champion, Saeed Al-Hajri - has returned with a vengeance recently and feels that he has the pace to make the top five on this occasion. Adel Hussein partners Mubarak in a Subaru Impreza.
Khalifa Saleh Al-Attiyah is the fifth Qatari driver on the entry list with Lebanese co-driver Ramy Menhem, while the 1993 FIA Middle East Rally Champion, Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani, comes out of special stage rallying retirement to tackle the event with Hamad Taleb Al-Marri in another Subaru. Al-Thani is more often seen on Baja events and Cross-Country rallies nowadays, but retains his enthusiasm for the title he won by pipping QMMF president Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah 16 years ago.
Other Qatar drivers on the entry list include Nasser Al-Suwaid, Hamed Al-Marri, Jaralla Jahman, Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Faisal Al-Attiyah, providing superb home support for the opening round of the regional series. A total of 14 Qatar drivers will line-up at Losail later this week.
“Motor sport has a huge following in Qatar,” enthused Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, President of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF). “We have a successful international rally, our round of the Moto GP series and numerous races at the Losail circuit. The Qatar Rally has been the traditional season opener in the regional rally championship and we are confident that we have strength in depth among the Qatari drivers this time.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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