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Cyprus gives incentives to Middle East champions

For immediate release
March 28th, 2003

THREE MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
WINNERS INVITED TO CYPRUS RALLY 2003

NICOSIA (Cyprus): The organisers of Cyprus Rally 2003, the seventh round of this year's FIA World Rally Championship, have invited the first three overall winners of the 2002 Middle East Rally Championship to take up free, guaranteed places for the event, which is to be held between June 19-22 on the East Mediterranean island.

It will offer the chance of competing against the crème-de-la-crème of world rallying to the winner of the Middle East Championship, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, himself the most successful FIA rally driver in the world, and to the second and third-placed drivers in the table, brothers Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi and Sheikh Khaled Al-Qassimi.

Their presence would be viewed as underlining the Cyprus Rally - now in its 31st year, and regarded as one of the more testing of the WRC events - as the ~home~ rally of the Middle East region.

~We believe the presence of the three Middle East Championship winners would be an added attraction for motorsport fans in the region, who will have the opportunity to make just a short journey to see their local heroes competing against the global stars of rallying,~ said Cyprus Rally 2003 Clerk of the Course Takis Kyriakides.

~The event, staged on an island just 60 kilometres from Syria, less than 100 kilometres from Lebanon, and a short flight from the Gulf, is also considered on of the most exciting WRC rallies to watch.~

The line up for Cyprus Rally 2003 features all six WRC teams and the top league of rally stars.

A road show is being mounted to present the rally thoughout the countries of the Middle East, in a campaign including satellite television and the specialist media. A pan-Europe programme will include advertising on Eurosport.

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation has launched a campaign for the ~home~ rally of the region around the Middle East, and ~Cyprus Rally 2003~ packages are being marketed in Dubai, Greece, and Russia, offering the chance of combining spectating at the exciting event with a holiday visit to the beautiful island of Cyprus.

Cyprus Rally 2003 promotions to the travel industry will begin in Dubai at the beginning of May, and presentations have been made at Europe's leading travel show, ITB in Berlin, and are currently being made at MITT in Moscow, Russia's travel trade show.

Ends

Date issued: 28/03/2003

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