MERC Syrian Rally gets underway in Damascus on Thursday afternoon

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

For immediate release
Wednesday, June 10th, 2009




Challenging route awaits Syrian Rally competitors

Jordan’s Ammar Hijazi forced to withdraw through illness


SEDNAYA (Syria): The Syrian International Rally gets underway with the ceremonial start at Abou Rummaneh in downtown Damascus from 6pm on Thursday evening (tomorrow). Over 20 international teams will then tackle 13 timed special stages in the deserts north of the capital on Friday and Saturday.


Competitors and rally officials are based at the Sheraton Hotel in Sednaya and entrants have just completed their permitted two days of monitored reconnaissance of the special stages. Drivers are permitted up to two runs through each timed test at a maximum speed of 60km/h.


“The stages are much better than last year, in the sense that you cannot cut corners as easily and they are well defined,” enthused Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who is one of the favourites for victory this weekend. “I have a great chance to win my first round of the championship.”


“The route is over 90% the same as last year, but we have made improvements in terms of quality and safety,” said clerk of the course Hani Shaban.


There were three confirmed non-starters from the original entry list prior to official documentation and scrutineering: the Syrian Rally Team entry was reduced to five cars with the withdrawal of Mohammed Hamsho, personal illness forced Jordan’s Ammar Hijazi to withdraw and Bahrain’s Abdulrahman Ghuloom did not make the trip to the Levant.


Competitive action gets underway with the 12.55km Jupiter stage at Sadad, north of Deir Atiyah, from 9.22hrs on Friday morning and teams then head straight into the 24km Hafar special and the 21.95km Baida test. Main service and the regrouping is situated at Deir Atiyah before the three stages are repeated on Friday afternoon from 1pm. Another service stop precedes the final stage of the day, near Yabrud, which is sponsored by the Sheraton Ma’aret Sednaya and gets underway from 3pm.


The first of two runs through the 18.8km Deir Atiyah stage gets the second leg underway from 9.24hrs on Saturday morning. This is followed by a run through the 13.11km Europcar-backed stage at Al Marah from 10.14hrs and the opening Nabk special at 10,42hrs. A service and regroup in Deir Atiyah precedes a repeat run through the three special stages from 12.36hrs. The ceremonial finish is scheduled for 16.32hrs in front of the Sheraton Hotel in Sednaya.


This year’s rally will run under the patronage of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism and has support from the Sheraton Ma’aret Sednaya, Orient TV, Runnet, Tafour Gardens, Arabisc Radio, Europcar and Nissan.


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






Date issued: 10/06/2009

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