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CC Nasser Al Attiyah enters new Qatar Baja

2004 Qatar Baja
FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup, FIA candidate event

For immediate release
Saturday, October 23rd, 2004

QATAR'S AL-ATTIYAH ENTERS TWO-DAY QATAR BAJA RACE

QMMF formalises detailed safety plan for new Baja event;
Generous concessions for regional teams;
Massive interest shown by European crews

DOHA (Qatar): Defending FIA Middle East rally champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah is the latest entrant to filter in for the Qatar Baja, the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation's most ambitious off-road rally since it first ran such a race 14 years ago. The event will be based in Doha and takes place on November 25th-27th.

Nasser currently lies second overall in this year's FIA regional series in a Prodrive-built Subaru Impreza WRX STi, but will revert to a powerful Chevrolet Pick-Up for Qatar's re-entry into the world of off-road racing. He returned to this form of the sport in dramatic style back in January, when he and Belgian co-driver Marc Bartholome finished a superb 10th overall in the Dakar Rally at the wheel of a Ralliart Mitsubishi Pajero.

~I have had a very busy and exciting season,~ said Nasser. ~But I am looking forward to taking part in my home event. I won the Qatar International Rally in February to open up a lead in the Middle East Championship and it would be a fantastic feeling to win two events on home soil in the same year. The Qatar Federation has laid on an ambitious and challenging rally and I will return to Doha to take the start after competing in the Rally of Corsica and Rally Australia, the final rounds of the Production World Rally Championship.~

~There has been a lot of interest from Europe and numerous potential entrants have expressed an interest in taking part in Qatar's new Baja,~ said Clerk of the Course Malcolm Neill. ~So far we have received interest from around 30 bike entrants from the UK, 10 bikes/quads and eight cars from Italy and several car and bike entrants from Germany.~

The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation is also offering generous concessions to GCC and Middle East competitors keen to take part in the event. The QMMF will offer $500 towards flight costs for car entrants, $250.00 for quad and motorcycle entries, one twin-bedded room for three nights with breakfast and a 50% refund on entry fees for starting the event.

The organisers have left nothing to chance on the safety front either. ~We have been meticulous with planning for safety,~ added Neill. ~Our team has arranged a challenging route, but safety has been at the top of the priority list. We will have our own radio network, a pair of air ambulances, eight Unimog recovery vehicles and a live Sportraxx tracking system to monitor the progress of each of the competitors. Ninety per cent of the planned route is also covered by the GSM mobile network.~

Administration checks and scrutineering will take place on Thursday, November 25th, before the traditional opening Prologue to determine starting orders for the motorcycles and cars gets underway at 15.00 hrs on Friday, November 26th. The event will be based at the Ramada Hotel in Doha, the traditional headquarters for the Qatar International Rally until 1996.

The second and final section takes place in the desert to the south of Doha and kicks off at 07.00 hrs on Saturday morning and finishes at around 18.30 hrs with the ceremonial podium in the city. The service park will be based at Sealine, near Doha, while the route offers a mixture of gravel tracks, hard packed sand, desert and several testing dune crossings and features two runs through a 230 kms section.

For regulations, entry forms and further information about the 2004 Qatar Baja contact the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (Tel: + 974 4379884, Fax: + 974 4379761, Email: malcolm.neill@qmmf.com or receptionist@qmmf.com and website: www.qmmf.com. Entries officially close on Friday, November 12th.

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2004 Qatar Baja Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, NCH Building, Upper Bar, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 7EH, United Kingdom.
Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Fax: + (44) 1952 825001, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)


Date issued: 23/10/2004

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
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Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
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