MERC Mansour Bin Jabr makes impressive return to rallying on day one in Dubai
37th Dubai International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 8
November 19-21, 2015
For immediate release
Friday, November 20th, 2015
EMIRATI MANSOUR BIN JABR MAKES IMPRESSIVE RETURN TO RALLYING ON OPENING LEG OF DUBAI INTERNATIONAL RALLY
· Abu Dhabi Racing’s Khalid Al-Qassimi holds lead after day one in Dubai Rally
DUBAI (UAE): Emirati Mansour Bin Jabr made a dramatic return to international rallying at the 37th Dubai International Rally, the final round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, on Friday.
With support from the Bin Jabr Group, Mansour and fellow Emirati navigator Arif Yousef Mohammed held 11th overall and third in the Group N category after six timed gravel special stages in the UAE deserts.
Bin Jabr set the fastest time in the showroom category in the third stage in his Tok Sport-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and is still hoping to challenge Lebanese overnight leader Nasib Nassar over the final day.
“I was out of the sport for seven years and have been away,” said Bin Jabr. “A local rally in Sharjah was a warm up for me. It was a short rally, but it gave me back my feel. My co-driver and I are working better together on each stage.
“The first three stages today were fast and good for us. The car worked well and the team has bonded. We lost a little time off the track, but there was only 39 seconds between myself and Michel Saleh at the halfway point of the day. I just wanted to keep the same pace this afternoon and will up my speed tomorrow to push for the Group N win.”
Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari was quickest overall on four of the six stages, but he lost over two minutes on the fourth special and Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi inherited a lead he held to the end of the day. Al-Kuwari slipped to second, albeit 1min 44.9sec behind, and Sharjah’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi holds third.
Bin Jabr started well and held 10th overall and third in the Group N category behind Lebanon’s Nasib Nassar and veteran Michel Saleh after the opening 21.8km of the Zubaidah stage. He maintained his position through the longer 37.17km of the timed test at Al-Falaj and set the fastest time in the Group N category through Shawqa to maintain third behind Nassar and Saleh.
After a service break and regroup, the three special stages were repeated in the afternoon and Bin Jabr started out from a fine eighth in the overall classification. He reduced Saleh’s Goup N advantage by 12.3 seconds through the first one, where Nassar snatched the lead.
Bin Jabr moved his second position through the fifth stage although he suffered a setback on the final stage of the day and lost three places on the overall leader board.
The Dubai International Rally is being organised by the ATC UAE and runs under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmad Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, president of the UAE National Olympic Committee.
Action resumes with a further three timed gravel stages at Ekhaidir, Kadra and Mileiha on Saturday morning. These will be repeated in the afternoon and precede the ceremonial finish, which will bring the 2015 FIA Middle East Rally Championship to a conclusion.