MERC Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah heads entry for 2012 Qatar International Rally

Qatar International Rally
2012 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1

For immediate release
Saturday, January 21st, 2012


· Former Pirelli Star driver winner Nicholai Georgiou returns to Qatar
· Drivers from Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Kuwait all set

DOHA (Qatar): Strength in depth rather than actual numbers is the feature of the final entry list for next week’s Qatar International Rally, round one of the 2012 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, which takes place in the Qatar deserts on January 26-28.

Organised by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), Qatar’s premier international rally has attracted a provisional 19 starters and defending regional champion, Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, tops the entry list alongside Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.

Al-Attiyah has recently returned from the Dakar Rally and will be aiming to win his home event for an unprecedented 10th successive occasion at the wheel of a Peugeot S2000. The Qatari has won the event every year since 2003 and used the services of four co-drivers. Bernacchini has partnered the Doha driver in his last two successes.

While Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari will be hoping to debut his new Mini S2000 with a podium finish in his home event, he and Al-Attiyah face drivers from Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Switzerland and Turkey in the traditional season opener.

Representing the host nation are Mubarak Al-Hajri, Misfer Al-Safran, Khalifa Al-Attiyah, Khalid Al-Suwaidi and Jaber Al-Marri. The event also sees the return of Nicholai Georgiou to the regional series at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX with co-driver Nabil Njeim. Georgiou won the Pirelli Star driver category in the Middle East several years ago and went on to enjoy a limited WRC programme with support from the Italian tyre company.

MERC ever-present Michel Saleh is also on the entry list, alongside Kuwait’s Essam and Meshal Al-Nejadi, Saleh Bin Eidan, Meshari Al-Thafiri and Fahad Ashkanani.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is represented by Rasheed Alaa, Mazan Tantash and Ammar Hijazi and the highly rated Turkish female driver Burcu Cetinkaya wheels out a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Switzerland’s Edith Weiss has also entered the event in a Subaru Impreza.

“It is encouraging to see so many teams from the region supporting the first round of the regional championship,” said QMMF president Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah. “There are several new faces on the entry list and that is good to see. Over the years the MERC has been a brilliant training ground for several drivers, who have gone on to make a name for themselves on the world stage.”

For further information about the 2012 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: marielou.cruz@qmmf.com.qa and website: www.qmmf.com


Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International Press Officer, 2012 Qatar International Rally, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)



Date issued: 21/01/2012

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