MERC Khalid Al-Qassimi registers for series and enters Kuwait Rally

FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round two

For immediate release
Friday, February 26th, 2010


·         Abu Dhabi driver’s series entry throws title race wide open

KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait): Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi has registered for the 2010 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) at the 11th hour and entered next week’s Kuwait International Rally. The event is based in Kuwait City and takes place on March 4th-6th.

The Emirati’s decision could throw the title race wide open, with Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah taking part in Rally Mexico next week and unable to add to the 10 points he scored in Qatar last month.

Al-Qassimi and Ulster co-driver Michael Orr pushed Al-Attiyah all the way on the opening round of the eight-round series, but a series of penultimate stage punctures prevented them from reaching the finish in their Ford Fiesta S2000.

The entry into all but two rounds of the MERC with the Ford Fiesta S2000 will be a welcome break from Al-Qassimi’s hectic schedule of events with the BP Ford team and a Ford Focus RS in the FIA World Rally Championship, where he opened his campaign with 13th overall in the recent Rally Sweden.

“I won the title back in 2004 and have always enjoyed my time competing closer to home,” admitted Al-Qassimi. “I didn’t finish in Qatar and was not registered for the championship, but I proved that the Ford Fiesta is a competitive package and feel that we have a great chance of taking maximum points in Kuwait and beginning a title challenge.”

Al-Qassimi is the fifth most successful driver of all time competing in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and has amassed six regional rally victories in his career, surpassed only by Mohammed Ben Sulayem (60), Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (35), Saeed Al-Hajri (11) and Roger Feghali (seven). Taking victory in Kuwait would give Al-Qassimi the opportunity to equal Feghali’s current tally of regional rally victories.

Al-Qassimi hopes to take part in remaining rounds of the series in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus and Abu Dhabi, but will miss the Jordanian round at the end of March, because he will be taking part in the same event with a Ford Focus RS. This car is not eligible for MERC points.

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.


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: 26/02/2010

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