MERC Local drivers aim for glory in Qatar International Rally
Qatar International Rally, February 3-5, 2011
2011 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), round 1 of 7
For immediate release
Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
LOCAL DRIVERS AIM FOR GLORY
IN QATAR INTERNATIONAL RALLY
· Qatar Rally Team enters four cars in Doha-based international
· Thirteen Qatari teams grace entry for MERC opening round
DOHA (Qatar): Local drivers will be bidding for glory when the Qatar International Rally kick-starts the 2011 FIA Middle East Rally Championship on Friday and Saturday (February 4-5).
The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) have laid on a revised all-desert route, consisting of 12 special stages and 269 competitive kilometres to test the 24 starters to the limit.
Qatari drivers dominate the entry for the traditional opening round of the prestigious regional rally series with defending champion Misfer Al-Marri and Dakar Rally winner Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah leading the way.
But Al-Marri is one of four members of the Qatar Rally Team, with Khalid Al-Suwaidi and British co-driver Nicky Beech seeded at four in a Subaru Impreza. Also representing the QMMF-backed team are Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Nasser Al-Kuwari and former co-driver-turned driver Mubarak Al-Hajri and Emirati navigator Aref Yousef Mohammed.
There is Qatari strength in depth down the entry list. Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani won the regional rally series in 1993 and teams up with new co-driver Faris Allouh in his Subaru Impreza.
Jaber Al-Marri was a regular on the Middle East rally scene as far back as the 1980s and teams up with British co-driver Jake Carlin in his Subaru Impreza. Also driving one of the Japanese manufacturer’s ever-popular four-wheel drive cars is Qatar’s Abdullah Al-Rabban.
Mohammed Al-Marri teams up with Lebanese co-driver Kamel Khoder in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Faisal Al-Attiyah drives a Subaru Impreza and Khalifa Saleh Al-Attiyah, Sultan Al-Suwaidi and Jamal Fakhroo round off the Qatari challenge. Al-Suwaidi teams up with Lebanon’s Basil Ghazzawi in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
“The fact that we have 13 local drivers on the entry list highlights the popularity of rallying in Qatar,” enthused QMMF president Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah. “We have a regional rally champion and the winner of the Dakar Rally at the head of the entry list this year and look forward to getting the Middle East Rally Championship off to a successful start.”
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)