MERC Oman's Hamed Al-Wahaibi makes final preparations for this weekend's Dubai International Rally

FIA Middle East Rally Championship, final round - December 1-3, 2011

For immediate release
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


· Wahaibi Motor Sports (WMS) to make MERC debut in UAE
· Al-Wahaibi and Harryman to continue new rallying programme

MUSCAT (Oman): Hamed Al-Wahaibi has arrived in the United Arab Emirates to complete his preparations for this weekend’s 33rd Dubai International Rally, the final round of the 2011 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).

Fresh from winning last weekend’s Rally Muscat with Ulster co-driver Allan Harryman, Oman’s leading rally star is relishing his return to the regional rally series – the scene of so many of his international successes in the 1990s.

After announcing a three-event programme at the same time as launching his new company - Wahaibi Motor Sport (WMS) - at a lavish reception in Oman last week, Al-Wahaibi has settled back into a rally car like a duck to water and is confident that he can continue his improvement and development with his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X this weekend.

“The Dubai International Rally holds so many fond memories for me from my time at the forefront of Group N and challenging for top honours,” said Al-Wahaibi. “I remember fondly the fantastic battles I had with Mohammed (Ben Sulayem) and Abdullah (Bakhashab).

“After being away from the sport for so long, the plan this weekend to continue to make progress, get to know the car, work well with Allan and get everything ready for next season.”

While Al-Wahaibi and Harryman make their return to the MERC with the Mitsubishi, Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi and Rashid Al-Ketbi will be fighting a three-way battle to try and claim the prestigious regional rally title over 12 gravel special stages on Friday and Saturday.

A provisional 19 cars will line up at the start, with Al-Wahaibi and the three championship protagonists heading the entry list, which also includes the UAE’s Sheikh Suhail bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum and Lebanese veteran Michel Saleh.

The ceremonial start will take place at the Emaar Boulevard in old town Dubai from 19.30hrs on Thursday evening but the competitive action gets underway on Friday morning from the HCT in Academic City.

Day two and a further six gravel special stages take place on Saturday and the event is scheduled to finish back at the Emaar Boulevard from 16.30hrs that afternoon. In a route of 1,027.36km, there will be 274.90 competitive kilometres.

Leading starters
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta S2000
2. Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Steve Lancaster (GBR) Ford Fiesta S2000
3. Rashid Al-Ketbi (UAE)/Khaled Al-Kendi (UAE) Skoda Fabia S2000
4. Michel Saleh (LEB)/Nancy Al-Majali (HKJ) Subaru Impreza
5. Mufeed Mubarak (KWT)/Saad Al-Melaifi (KWT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
6. Hamed Al-Wahaibi (OMN)/Allan Harryman (GBR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
7. Suhail bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum (UAE)/Wael Marjan (UAE) Subaru Impreza
8. Meshari Al-Thafiri (KWT)/Mubarak Al-Thafiri (KWT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX


For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com,
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).


Date issued: 29/11/2011

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