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MERC Bumper entry for new Kuwait International Rally

KUWAIT INTERNATIONAL RALLY, March 5th-7th 2009
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round two

For immediate release
Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

BUMPER ENTRY CONFIRMED FOR
KUWAIT INTERNATIONAL RALLY

·Walid Mihyar set for clerk of the course role for the 14th time
·Qatar's Al-Attiyah confirms return to a Subaru Impreza in Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait): Entries have closed for the Kuwait International Rally and event officials have confirmed that 33 of the region's finest rally drivers, including 10 Kuwaiti teams, will take part in the second round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) on March 5th-7th.

The event is being organised by the Kuwait Motor Sports Club (KMSC), under the patronage of Faisal Al-Jazaf, chairman and general manager of the public authority for youth and sports in the State of Kuwait. The route and format of Kuwait's first championship round since 1996 has been devised by the experienced Jordanian official Walid Mihyar, who is working as clerk of the course of his 14th MERC event.

Mihyar graduated with a degree in business management from North Carolina University in 1985 and worked in the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan's office between 1993 and 2001. He held a management position within the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation between 2001 and 2002 and also became the clerk of the course of the Syrian International Rally between 2000 and 2004, his efforts going a long way to ensure the Syrian event became an integral round of the regional rally series.

Mihyar was clerk of the course of the Dubai International Rally in 2002 and held a similar position in the Sultanate of Oman between 2003 and 2004. He then worked as clerk of the course of the new Saudi Ha'il Baja between 2006 and 2007, before joining the Kuwait team to re-launch the Kuwait International Rally.

Mihyar and officials at the KMSC have also been joined in the organising team by Hasan Jaradat, the Jordanian time keeper at the Kuwait Rally, Naser Rabata - who handles results - Syrian competition liaison officer Sari Mahli, Jordanian parc fermé manager Issa Kheir and Raed Al-Sulabi.

"Most of the marshals are Kuwaitis and Kuwaiti people are very much involved in the rally and interested in rallying in the region," said Mihyar. The special stages will be demanding and challenging and are being developed each year. We have a variety of terrain, with sabkha on the beach, a forest section near the Shooting Club, in addition to rough surfaces and fast desert tracks.

"Our rally super special is the only one of its kind in the Middle East that takes place on a circuit with two cars competing against each other at the same time. The circuit can host other championships as well and will be used frequently. We can expect a big future for rallying in Kuwait."

"We are delighted to have an experienced team of Arabic-speaking officials to support our staff at the KMSC," said Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dawood Al-Sabah. "Walid Mihyar has a lot of experience in a similar role around the region and this puts us on a strong footing."

Meanwhile, defending regional champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah has confirmed that he will return to driving a 2009-specification Subaru Impreza in Kuwait, after winning the recent Qatar International Rally in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Al-Attiyah has support from a Qatari construction company for the first time and teams up with Britain's Autotek Motorsport again in Kuwait. He is aiming to win his 31st MERC event alongside new co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini. The Italian co-drove for Lebanon's Roger Feghali last season on rounds of the regional series and has WRC experience with Italy's Gigi Galli.

For further information, please contact the Kuwait Motor Sport Club, PO Box 29, Salmiya, 22001 Kuwait, Tel: + (965) 253 55511 and 25355522, Fax: + (965) 253 55566, E-mail: admin@q8racing.com or q8racingclub@yahoo.com, www.q8racing.com

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, International Media Liaison Officer, 2009 Kuwait International Rally, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

www.q8racing.com

Date issued: 24/02/2009

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