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MERC Qatar Rally takes shape in Doha

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

For immediate release
Friday, March 25th, 2005

QATAR'S ROUND OF FIA MIDDLE
EAST RALLY SERIES TAKES SHAPE

Qatar Rally to start from Qatar National Museum;
Special stage event to use Losail circuit facilities

DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation is putting together the final meticulous preparations for the Mitsubishi Qatar International Rally, which will take place on April 14th-16th and acts as the fourth round of this year's nine-event FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

Interest in this year's championship is booming following an exciting climax to the thrilling Rally Oman 2005 last week, which witnessed Qatar's 2003 regional champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah extend his lead in the Drivers' Championship to six points over the UAE's Power Horse-supported defending champion Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi.

This year's Qatar Rally will feature a cermonial start for the first time from the Qatar National Museum in Doha at 20.00 hrs on Thursday, April 14th. The first car will leave the start line at 20.30 hrs and the event organisers are arranging a presentation of Qatar national motorsport, in addition to a laser show and family entertainment, specifically targeted at the younger members of the community.

~This is the first time that any event organiser in the Middle East has laid on such a ceremonial start with entertainment for families with children,~ enthused Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, President of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation. ~We would like to start raising awareness of top class motorsport in Qatar to a wider circle of people and this will be a chance for youngsters to meet the region's top drivers and see at first hand the teams in this year's FIA Middle East Rally Championship.~

Scutineering, documentation, the media centre and all official offices will be based at the Losail circuit, north of Doha. According to Clerk of the Course Malcolm Neill, this will give the 2005 Mitsubishi Qatar International Rally a compact and concise format.

~All the various rally activities will benefit from the excellent facilities at Losail,~ said Ulsterman Neill. ~The organisers of the recent Bahrain Rally attempted this at Sakhir in February, but we intend to take it a step further. Each car will be serviced in air conditioned pit boxes, like a Moto GP operation or Formula One racing teams. This is a first for any round of the Middle East rally series and we will also position the parc ferme area close by and have the finish podium at the circuit.~

Neill is confident that this year's rally will attract in excess of 30 cars, as the QMMF builds on the success of the Moto Gp last October and last November's Qatar Baja, which has now been admitted to the FIA Baja calendar in 2005.

The competitive action will take place over two days in all-desert special stage format on April 15th-16th. In a route of approximately 544 kms, there will be 263 kms of special stages. The Ramada Hotel in Doha will play host to international teams and officials in the evenings.

For further information about the 2005 Qatar International Rally, 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

Revised FIA Middle East Drivers'
Championship after round 3 of 9:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA) 30 pts
2. Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi (UAE) 24 pts
3. Sheikh Suhail bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum (UAE) 12 pts
4. Misfer Al-Marri (QA) 9 pts
4. Ahmed Al-Sabban (KSA) 9 pts
6. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QA) 7 pts
7. Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE) 5 pts
8. Rashid Al-Ketbi (UAE) 4 pts
8. Mufeed Mubarak (KWT) 4 pts
10. Amjad Farrah (HKJ) 3 pts
10. Hassan Al-Sadadi (BAH) 3 pts
10. Mashari Al-Daffari (KWT) 3 pts
13. Khaled Soomar (OM) 2 pts
14. Meshal Al-Nejadi (KWT) 1 pt
14. Asem Aref (HKJ) 1 pt

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: 25/03/2005

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
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7831 123153 (UK)

Email: ndppublicity@googlemail.com

Web: www.ndp-publicity.com

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