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MERC Qatar Rally organisers announce 2005 MERC event

2005 Mitsubishi Qatar International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 9

For immediate release
Sunday, February 20th, 2005

QATAR RALLY ORGANISERS ANNOUNCE MITSUBISHI-SUPPORTED FOURTH ROUND OF FIA 2005 MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

Losail circuit base for all-desert championship encounter;
Region's finest drivers set for two-day stage showdown

DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation today (Sunday) announced exciting plans and a revised format for the 2005 Mitsubishi Qatar International Rally, which will take place on April 14-16th and is the fourth of nine rounds in this year's prestigious FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

The event ran as a successful candidate rally last February and was readily accepted back into the regional series by the FIA, the sport's governing body, after a one-year absence. The highly-acclaimed event drew praise last season for its revised attention to safety and switches to a later April date this season as part of the ever-improving regional rally series.

~We are delighted to be back in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship after a one-year absence,~ enthused Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, President of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation. ~Motorsport is one of the fastest growing sports in the Middle East and, here in Qatar, we are progressing at a very fast pace.

~On the back of the success of our inaugural Moto GP race last October, we ran a Qatar Baja event in November and this has now been accepted into the FIA Baja Cup for Drivers Championship in 2005. Next weekend we will also host a round of the World Super Bike Championship and the re-inclusion of the Qatar International Rally into the rally series is the final piece of the jigsaw for the time being.~

The Qatar Rally, which is also a round of the Qatar National Rally Championship, will be supported by Mitsubishi for the second successive season and will be based at the Losail race circuit, north of Doha, for the first time.

The official start will be along the scenic Doha Corniche on Thursday, April 14th and this will be followed by two days of all-desert special stage action on April 15th-16th. In a route of approximately 544 kilometres, there will be 263 kilometres of special stages. Servicing, scrutineering, rally control and all media facilities will be located at the Losail circuit, while the Ramada Hotel in Doha will play host to international teams and officials.

Entries for the event officially close on Friday, April 1st, but the organisers are currently offering a generous assistance package to overseas and regional competitors. Each team will receive one twin room for the six-night period between April 11th and April 16th, with a free fuel allocation and reimbursement of two flight tickets for non-Qatari competitors. Local teams will receive one twin room for the three days of the rally and a generous fuel allocation.

For further information about the 2005 Qatar International Rally and available concessions for competitors, contact the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), PO Box 8708, Doha, Qatar (Tel: + 974 4379884, Fax: + 974 4379761 and Email: info@qmmf.com).

Website: www.qmmf.com

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2005 Qatar International Rally 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: 20/02/2005

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
Holly House, Station Road, Newport,
Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
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