MERC Al Attiyah wins opening Syrian spectator stage

Syrian International Rally 2005
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 6 of 8

For immediate release
Wednesday, August 31st, 2005


Second place for Lebanon's Abdo Feghali;
Third place for UAE's Abdullah Al-Qassimi

SEDNAYA (Syria): Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson were the early leaders of the Syrian International Rally, after setting the fastest time in the opening 1.78 kms timed 'super special' stage on the outskirts of Damascus today (Wednesday).

Needing a sixth successive outright win in the FIA Middle East Rally
Championship to be sure of clinching a second title in three years,
Al-Attiyah beat his nearest Lebanese rival Abdo Feghali through the twisty gravel stage, adjacent to the Beirut highway west of Damascus.

Third place fell to Sharjah's former Group N champion Sheikh Abdullah
Al-Qassimi in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8, with a string of local
drivers and the defending champion Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi in close

The event started at 16.00 hrs on Wednesday afternoon from the Al-Jalaa
Club Mezzah in Damascus. Additional support for the rally comes from
Areeba, the Sheraton Ma'aret Saydnaya, Almadina FM and Hamsho

Tomorrow (Thursday) there will be eight timed special stages around Maloula and Sednaya, including two runs through a new Super Areeba timed section in the remote hills between Lebanon and Syria. Syria's premier motorsport event will finish in Sednaya on Friday afternoon after a further eight special stages.

Positions after SS1 (top 4 - unofficial @ 18.30 hrs):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Chris Patterson (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 1m 41s
2. Abdo Feghali (RL)/Joseph Mattar (RL) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 =
1m 43s
3. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Steve Lancaster (GB) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 1m 46s
3. Sheikh Khaled Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Nicky Beech (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 1m 46s, etc


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Date issued: 31/08/2005

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