MERC Saudi Arabian team support SAMF's Sharqia Rally

Sharqia Rally 2010
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8

For immediate release
Saturday, April 17th, 2010



·         Saudi’s Ahmed Al-Sabban will be relying on his extensive experience

·         Farhan Al-Ghaleb and Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani boost local challenge

RIYADH (Saudi Arabia): Three further Saudi Arabian crews will support Yazeed Al-Rajhi on the provisional entry list for this week’s Sharqia Rally, round four of the 2010 FIA Middle East Rally Championship. The event starts with a timed super special stage on Tuesday afternoon (April 22nd) in the Half Moon Bay of Al-Khobar.


Boosting the home challenge for the Kingdom’s first entry into the prestigious regional rally series are Farhan Al-Ghaleb, Ahmed Al-Sabban and Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani.


Of the three, only Al-Sabban is registered for MERC points and needs a good finish on the Sharqia Rally to kick-start his championship campaign. The Saudi is the most experienced of all the local drivers taking part in the three-day gravel rally, being run under the patronage of HRH Prince Mohamed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of the Eastern Province and the Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Sharqia Rally.


He started rallying back in the early 1990s in a Group N Ford Escort RS Cosworth and has been a regular in the series for over 17 years since those forays into the sport with a Gulf Oils-backed car.


Al-Sabban and Ulster co-driver Killian Duffy experimented with a Toyota S2000 in 2008 and at the start of last year and Al-Sabban was the first driver in the region to opt for the non-Group N car route.


The Toyota set some competitive stage times, but it lacked the reliability Al-Sabban needed to make an impact on the championship and Ahmed has opted to use a Subaru Impreza in the Sharqia Rally. He will be co-driven by Amr Refai, a co-driving protégé of Abdullah Bakhashab’s Toyota Team Middle East programme with a trio of Toyota Rav-4s a few years ago.


While Yazeed Al-Rajhi and his French co-driver Matthieu Baumel will be hoping to win the Sharqia Rally for a second time and boost their title challenge – to follow up their outright success on the candidate event in 2008 – Farhan Al-Ghaleb will be hoping to reach the finish on the all-desert event, which is run by the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF).


The Saudi has graduated from taking part in the Ha’il Saudi Baja to the entry list of the Kingdom’s premier special stage event and teams up with Tariq Rammah in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.


The fourth Saudi entrant on the provisional list is Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani. He will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII and will be partnered by Abdulhadi Khwayter on his MERC debut.


“We have seen from the popularity of the Zain Reem circuit, near Riyadh, and the burgeoning entries for the Lotus, Porsche and Saudi Radical championships that motor sport is booming in Saudi Arabia and we are delighted to see four local crews supporting the first event of its kind to form a round of the regional rally series in Saudi Arabia,” enthused SAMF president Mishaal Al-Sudairy.


Further rally information is available from the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, PO Box 87881, Riyadh 11652, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tel: + 9661 477 1035, Fax: + 9661 477 1050, E-mail: info@samf.gov.sa or Hamoud Al-Jabry, Technical Advisor, Mobile: +966 560 623436 or + 966 546 677660, E-mail: aljabri@samf.gov.sa or coolmoodz@hotmail.com.



For further media information:

Neil Perkins, 2010 Sharqia Rally International Press Liaison, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com. www.ndp-publicity.com.

Arabic: Firas Nimri, Arabic Press Liaison, Mobile: + 9662 777 282000, E-mail: firas@nimri.com





Date issued: 17/04/2010

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