PSD Nicholai Georgiou wins Pirelli Star Driver award for Middle East region


2009 FIA Middle East Rally Championship

For immediate release
Saturday, December 5th, 2009




·        Nicholai Georgiou set for six-rally WRC campaign in 2010

·        Kuwait’s Al-Thafiri wrecks chances on opening desert stage

DUBAI (UAE): Lebanese driver Nicholai Georgiou claimed an emphatic victory in the Pirelli Star Driver competition, held in conjunction with the Dubai International Rally, the final round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship on December 4-5.


“It’s obviously a great feeling to seal the Pirelli Star Driver here,” said Georgiou. “This is a major break through in my driving career. I came so close to winning last year and now I can look forward to an exciting season in 2010. It as a case of driving very carefully through those final stages, listening out for any strange noises, and making sure I reached the finish.”


Georgiou went head-to-head over nine gravel special stages in the UAE deserts with Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thafiri to determine who would represent the region in the prestigious FIA World Rally Championship in 2010, courtesy of Pirelli’s Star Driver competition.


The contest was all but settled in Georgiou’s favour on the very first Al-Rowdah stage. The Lebanese set the ninth fastest time, but Al-Thafiri dropped 20 minutes with serious technical problems and plummeted to the foot of the results standings heading into the second special stage at Seih Madam.


The Kuwaiti was unable to start the second stage, where Georgiou set the 12th fastest time and continued his cautious path towards the Pirelli title. Al-Thafiri needed to ensure that he restarted under SupeRally on Saturday, but even winning every stage on day two would not have been mathematically good enough for him to pip Georgiou to the award.


Georgiou finished the opening day in last place in the overall classification after his own problems and drove cautiously through the final four stages on Saturday. He was ninth quickest in Masfut and Seih Madam and held a position outside the top 10 in the overall standings. Al-Thafiri failed to restart and Georgiou was able to let the celebrations begin.


Georgiou had qualified for the final by winning the West Zone section of the Pirelli Star Driver competition in Syria. Al-Thafiri qualified through the Gulf zone event in Kuwait.


The Lebanese will now join winners from Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region in the nominated WRC rounds of the 2010 Pirelli Star Driver competition in Jordan, Portugal, Finland, Germany, France and Great Britain.


Note to editors:


The Pirelli ‘Star Driver’ competition


The Pirelli ‘Star Driver’ award is a worldwide search for the five best young rally drivers from the 2009 FIA regional championships in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and European (including South America) zones.


Each region held qualifying events and a final shoot-out. The successful drivers are then invited to contest a series of six rounds of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship in identical Group N cars supplied and serviced under an FIA agreement.



For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2009 Pirelli ‘Star Driver award’, Middle East International Media Liaison, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)


Date issued: 05/12/2009

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