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Al Qassimi vows to bounce back in Jordan

2004 Jordan International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8

For immediate release
Thursday, April 15th, 2004

AL-QASSIMI VOWS TO BOUNCE BACK IN JORDAN

Podium places crucial for Sheikh Abdullah in Oman and Jordan

AMMAN (Jordan): Sharjah's Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi, the defending Middle East Group N Champion, is determined to bounce back from his recent disappointment in the Bahrain International Rally, by taking podium positions in next week's Oman Rally and the Marlboro-supported Jordan International Rally in mid-May.

Al-Qassimi began his championship in Abu Dhabi back in January and collected four points for his fifth position in the overall standings. But the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver and Lebanese co-driver Gaby Khoury know full well that they will need to take top positions in the next few rounds to stand any chance of catching Abdullah's brother Sheikh Khaled Al-Qassimi, who finished second in Abu Dhabi and won the Bahrain Rally outright.

Sheikh Khalid already holds a 14-point advantage over his elder brother and is the outright leader of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

~It has not been the best of starts to the year,~ admitted Sheikh Abdullah. ~But there is a long way to go. There are still six events and the next five weeks could completely change the situation. I had my fair share of problems in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Rally is an event that I have won in the past and it would have been nice to get off to a better start.

~But my accident in Bahrain was a major set-back. It is an event on which I have scored well before. Now I must go to Oman and then to Jordan and achieve good finishes.~

Sheikh Abdullah finished third overall in the Jordan International Rally last season with local co-driver Khaled Zakaria. But Zakaria - a former Middle East championship-winning co-driver - is now competing with Jordanian's leading driver Amjad Farrah.

~Gaby and I have tackled many rallies together,~ said Abdullah. ~We have a good understanding of one another and know what it takes to be successful. I have won the Group N title for four of the last six years and am not too worried to be so far behind at this stage in the season. This season is turning out to be very close and exciting. The organisers are sticking rigidly to the regulations and this is good for the credibility and future of the sport in the region.

~The Jordan International Rally is one of the most difficult events in the Middle East calendar. Some of the stages are rough and hard on the cars. Others are more technical and a better test of the driver. We have one of the better prepared cars in the championship and reliability will be crucial in both the Oman and Jordan rallies.~

For further information about the 2004 Jordan International Rally and details about entry concessions contact Ziad Louza at the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan (RACJ), Tel: + 9626 5850626, Fax: + 9626 5818131, E-mail: racj@go.com.jo

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2004 Jordan International Rally Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services,
Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Fax: + (44) 1952 825001, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com/press releases

Date issued: 15/04/2004

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