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MERC Syrian officials confirm date change for international rally

2009 Syrian International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3

For immediate release
Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

SYRIAN ORGANISERS CONFIRM DATE SWITCH FOR REVISED
THIRD ROUND OF FIA MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

Revised gravel special stages for Syria's premier motor sport event

SEDNAYA (Syria): Officials at the Syrian Automobile Club in Damascus have confirmed that the third round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) will now run on June 11th-13th, after the original date for the 9th Syrian International Rally was reinstated at the recent FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris.

Syria's premier motor sport event is the 151st in the history of the prestigious regional series and will be based in Sednaya, north of Damascus, for the fifth time. It is likely to attract the cream of the Middle East's rally fraternity, who look set to tackle a challenging selection of revised gravel special stages in the deserts to the north of the capital.

Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah currently holds a seven-point lead in the FIA Middle East Drivers' Championship from Misfer Al-Marri. Al-Attiyah is the defending regional champion and recorded his 30th and 31st MERC victories in Qatar and Kuwait earlier this season and has a maximum 20 points from two starts.

"We are in the process of preparing the special stages and trying to cut down all the fast sections that have been used in previous years," said clerk of the course Hani Shaban. "The service area will be in the same position as 2008, but the overnight parc ferme will be in the same service area this year to minimise road sections on the event and to keep the format as compact as possible."

The rally will run under the patronage of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism and has initial support from the Sheraton Ma'aret Sednaya, Orient TV, Europcar and Nissan.

The Syrian Rally ran for the first time in 2000 as a candidate event and has been a popular round of the regional championship ever since, although it was cancelled in 2006 because of regional unrest.

Regulations and further information about entries and concessions are available from the Syrian Automobile Club, PO Box 36256, Damascus, Syria, Tel: 963 11 2323706, Fax: + 963 11 2312785, Website: www.syrianrally.com.

Ends

For further media information:
Lutfi Estwani, Arabic Press Officer, Tel: + 963 11 232 3706, Fax: + 963 11 231 2785, Mobile: + 963 93234445
or
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International Press Officer, 2009 Syrian International Rally, NCH Building, Upper Bar, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 7EH, Tel/Fax: + (44) 1952 825001, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

www.syrianrally.com
www.merc-fia.com

Date issued: 05/05/2009

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
Holly House, Station Road, Newport,
Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
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