MERC 2013 Qatar International Rally set to start exciting new season of Middle East rallying

Qatar International Rally
2013 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1

For immediate release
Sunday, December 16th, 2012


· Generous incentives available to overseas rally teams
· QMMF set to use Swiss-bel Hotel in Doha as rally headquarters

DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar International Rally will open the curtains to an exciting new season of Middle East rallying, when the Doha-based event gets the FIA Middle East Rally Championship underway on January 24th-26th, 2013.

The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) will be the first club to host an event where no less than five championships will be run in unison, following the FIA World Motor Sport Council’s decision to rubberstamp exciting new regulations at a meeting in Istanbul last week.

The Qatar International Rally will begin the usual rally series - which is also fought out over events in Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus and Dubai - but will also play guinea pig to the introduction of separate championships for Group N cars, young drivers, two-wheel drive vehicles and a new T3 category for two and four-wheel drive Buggies. Drivers born after November 1st, 1987 will be eligible for the young driver series.

“The FIA Middle East Rally Championship has needed a revamp and a way of encouraging new drivers for several years and we give our full backing to the introduction of the new rules and new championships,” enthused Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, president of the QMMF.

“Our event is one of the most popular and best supported rounds of the championship and we are delighted to get the new season underway and look forward to welcoming many new faces to Qatar next month.”

The Qatar International Rally has been the traditional opening round of the regional series for many years and the QMMF is delighted to announce a new headquarters at the Swiss-bel Hotel in Doha, although the desert action will be fought out over special stages to the south of Doha with clerk of the course Elie Semaan at the helm of the hands-on organising team.

Last year’s event marked the first career MERC victory for Abdulaziz and Nasser Al-Kuwari and the first international rally victory for Prodrive’s Mini S2000. Al-Kuwari is sure to be one of several Qatari drivers keen to win the 2013 event and begin what promises to be a thrilling season with a maximum haul of 25 championship points. His victory in 2012 brought to an end a nine-year Qatar Rally winning streak by defending regional champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah.

The QMMF is offering an assistance package to international entrants. Crews will be offered six nights’ free accommodation for the driver and co-driver (room and breakfast) at the Swiss-bel hotel, the event’s new headquarters in Doha.

For further information about the 2013 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, 2013 Qatar International Rally, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)



Date issued: 16/12/2012

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