MERC Al-Attiyah's Mexican dream opens door for rivals in Kuwait

FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round two

For immediate release
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010


·         Qatar’s Al-Marri, Saudi’s Al-Rajhi and UAE’s Al-Ketbi have golden chance to take victory in Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait): Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah’s decision to take part in Rally Mexico instead of the forthcoming Kuwait International Rally has left the door wide open for Qatar’s Misfer Al-Marri and Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi to pick up maximum points on the second round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).

Al-Attiyah, the defending regional champion, heads to Mexico this week to prepare for the start of his S-WRC campaign in a new Skoda Fabia S2000. In his absence, Al-Marri and Al-Rajhi are likely to be joined by the UAE’s Rashid Al-Kebti to fight for overall honours in the three-day Kuwait event, which takes place on March 4th-6th.

“Having a hectic motor sport programme means we have inevitable date clashes,” said Al-Attiyah, who is still hoping to win his seventh regional title in eight years this season. “Mexico was always in my programme for the year and must take priority.”

Al-Marri finished runner-up to his illustrious Qatari rival in last year’s championship and finished behind Nasser in second place in the opening round in their native Doha last month. Al-Marri and Italian co-driver Nicola Arena both have eight championship points and the QMMF-backed team know that they have a superb opportunity for Al-Marri to claim his first ever MERC victory. The Qatari currently trails Al-Attiyah by just two points after round one of the eight-event series.

Al-Rajhi won the Kuwait Rally when it ran as a candidate in 2008 – also at the same time as Rally Mexico – and was one of the front-runners last year before damaging his Peugeot 207 S2000. The Saudi failed to score any points in Qatar and a finish will be imperative for the Riyadh driver to retain his chance of taking a maiden regional title.

The UAE’s Rashid Al-Ketbi failed in Qatar to repeat the scintillating form he showed in last December’s Dubai International Rally, but the Emirati has the turn of speed to match and beat both Al-Marri and Al-Rajhi and will also be aiming to claim his first ever regional championship win. He came mighty close on a couple of occasions to achieving that goal when he competed under team orders with a Ford Escort RS Cosworth in the late 1990s.

The Kuwait event will run under the patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and under the presidency of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dawood Al-Sabah, President of the KMSC and chairman of the organising committee.  

Further details are available from the Kuwait Motor Sport Club, PO Box 29, Salmiya, 22001 Kuwait, Tel: + (965) 253 55511 and 253 55522, Fax: + (965) 253 55566, E-mail: admin@q8racing.com or q8racingclub@yahoo.com, www.q8racing.com


For further media information:
Neil Perkins, International Media Liaison, 2010 Kuwait International Rally, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)


Date issued: 24/02/2010

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