CC Nissan Middle East throw weight behind Emil Khneisser's T2 title bid
Baja Aragon Spain
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, round 6
July 24-26, 2015
For immediate release
Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
NISSAN MIDDLE EAST THROWS WEIGHT BEHIND EMIL
KHNEISSER’S FIA WORLD CUP T2 TITLE PUSH IN SPAIN
· Emil Khneisser and Nissan hold second in T2 World Championship
TERUEL (SPAIN): Nissan Middle East is supporting the FIA World Cup rallying programme of the Lebanese driver Emil Khneisser, who is currently en route to Spain to bolster his challenge for honours in the T2 category of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies at this weekend’s Baja Aragon Spain (July 24-26).
Khneisser has enjoyed a superb start to his cross-country rallying season and points-scoring finishes from four of the opening five rounds of the world’s most demanding off-road rallying series have lifted the Lebanese into second place in the T2 Championship (for series production cross-country vehicles), a mere 16 points behind the experienced Kazakh driver Denis Berezovskiy. Khneisser is co-driven by the Russian Alexsei Kuzmich.
Nissan has been a regular supporter of rallying in the Middle East and has been a title sponsor of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round two of the FIA World Cup, for many years.
Ongoing support for Khneisser’s programme with his dependable Nissan Patrol comes at a crucial time for the Lebanese, who finished fourth in T2 in Abu Dhabi and sixth at the Sealine Cross-Country Rally in Qatar before achieving a vital victory and a maximum 50 points at the gruelling Pharaohs Rally in Egypt. His Nissan Patrol was the model of reliability in Italy last month as well and Khneisser gained a further 15 points for a fine third place.
“I never had any doubts about the all-round capabilities of the Nissan Patrol over any type of terrain,” enthused Khneisser, who is a group training and product manager at Abu Dhabi’s Nissan dealer Al-Masaood Automobiles.
“King of all terrains is a well deserved title for the car. We have managed to create a very efficient team and have a sound logistical base in the Middle East on which to compete and to prove that we are the best in the world in the T2 category.
“In Europe, we started from scratch with limited time and the result at the Italian Baja was a great boost. It also proved how competitive the Nissan Patrol was in very challenging conditions. After only racing in the Middle East for the last 14 years, it was great to have such a proven machine for my first event like this in Europe.
“The plan now is to create a new team with excellent logistics for the European rallies with full support from Nissan Middle East. We are currently second in the T2 Championship and will try out best to take the series lead in Spain.”
Khneisser was the Lebanese off-road rallying champion for four years in succession before moving to the UAE in 2001. He started his off-road rallying career in a self-built Buggy before switching to the trusty Nissan Patrol.
Intense heat and dusty conditions are likely to be prevalent at the Baja Aragon Spain, although Khneisser may face very different weather conditions at forthcoming European rounds of the FIA World Cup in Hungary, Poland and Portugal.
He also faces stiff competition in Spain from the likes of the Latvian driver Aldis Vilcans, Spaniards Alberto Dorsch and Josep Sole, Russian Maxim Kirpilev, Qatar’s Sheikh Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani and his main title rival, Berezovskiy.
Baja Aragon Spain is based at the eastern Spanish town of Teruel and is likely to feature demanding high summer temperatures in the high thirties Centigrade and dusty conditions. The competitive action gets underway with a timed 7.8km super special stage from 18.59hrs on Friday evening (July 24).
The bulk of the competitive action takes place on Saturday (July 25) and features a 160km selective section between Calamocha and Calatayud from 08.24hrs and a second 310km timed test between Calatayud and Teruel, starting at 11.28hrs.
After an overnight halt in Teruel, the competitive action draws to a close on Sunday (July 26) with a 180km section between Calamocha and Teruel, starting at 10.29hrs. The ceremonial finish takes place in Teruel later in the afternoon.
FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies T2 – positions after round 5:
1. Denis Berezovskiy (KAZ) 121 pts
2. Emil Khneisser (ARE) 105 pts
3. Maxim Kurpilev (RUS) 100 pts
4. Hamed bin Eid Al-Thani (QAT) 88 pts
5. Mansour Al-Helai (ARE) 50 pts
6. Mohammed Hargan (QAT) 36 pts, etc