MERC Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi set to drive Ford Fiesta S2000 in Qatar
Qatar International Rally, February 3-5, 2011
2011 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), round 1 of 7
For immediate release
Thursday, January 27th, 2011
UAE’S SHEIKH ABDULLAH AL-QASSIMI SET FOR QATAR
RALLY CHALLENGE IN EX-NASSER FORD FIESTA S2000
· Qatar’s Misfer Al-Marri confirms programme in BRR Skoda
· Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi withdraws from MERC
· Swiss female driver Edith Weiss set for Qatar Rally challenge
DOHA (Qatar): The UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi has acquired the Ford Fiesta S2000 that Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah drove on several rounds of last year’s FIA Middle East Rally Championship and will drive it in next week’s Qatar International Rally. The opening round of the 2011 regional series takes place on February 3-5.
The former regional Group N champion and winner of the 2000 UAE International Rally is one of the most experienced competitors on the Middle East rally scene and is excited about the prospect of switching to the car that Al-Attiyah used to win last year’s events in Syria, Cyprus and Dubai.
Al-Qassimi’s car will be run by Ken Skidmore’s Autotek Motorsport operation and the Emirati again teams up with English co-driver Steve Lancaster, the winner of the Qatar International Rally in 2003. “We carried out a short test with Abdullah in Sharjah during the first weekend of January and all went very well,” enthused Skidmore.
Meanwhile, defending regional champion Misfer Al-Marri has also confirmed that he will run a QMMF-backed Skoda Fabia S2000 on the Qatar International Rally. The Doha driver won the series last year in a Subaru Impreza and has been piecing together his 2011 programme in recent weeks.
The Austrian Baumschlager Rally Racing (BRR) team will run the Skoda and Al-Marri again teams up with Italian co-driver Nicola Arena.
Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, the 2004 FIA Middle East rally champion, will not be trying to win back his title this season. The Abu Dhabi driver is already confirmed to drive a Ford Fiesta RS WRC in the FIA World Rally Championship with Ulster co-driver Michael Orr, but has not been able to finalise a sponsorship package to enable him to run a Ford in the Middle East.
Swiss female driver Edith Weiss has entered the 2011 Qatar International Rally. A regular on various rallies around the world for a number of years, Weiss is enthusiastic about her motor sport and has tackled the Qatar event on several occasions in the past in a variety of different cars.
She attended last October’s Rally Antibes d’Azur in France on an invitation from the organisers and has a long-term ambition of switching to an official management capacity at global motor sport events. Germany’s Claudia Harloff will co-drive for Weiss in Qatar.
For further information about the 2011 Qatar International Rally, contact Marie-Lou Cruz, Qatar Motor and Motor Cycle Federation (QMMF), PO Box 8708, Doha, Qatar, Tel: + 974 437 9884/9885, Fax: + 974 437 9761, E-mail: email@example.com and website: www.qmmf.com
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International Press Officer, 2011 Qatar International Rally, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)