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MERC European entries add flavour to Dubai International Rally

2005 Dubai International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 8 of 8

For immediate release
Saturday, November 5th, 2004

EUROPEAN ENTRIES ADD FLAVOUR
TO DUBAI INTERNATIONAL RALLY

British drivers Nutter and Scialom return to desert action;
Austrian and Italian teams to take part in FIA stage finale

DUBAI (UAE): The Automobile and Touring Car Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATC UAE) is delighted to announce a surge in interest from international competitors for the 2005 Dubai International Rally. The event is the final round of this year's FIA Middle East Rally Championship and takes place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Department, on December 1st-2nd.

With less than one month to go before the start of the traditional finale to this year's regional series, the organisers' offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have received numerous enquiries for entries and additional information. They have already received international entries from Italy, Austria and the United Kingdom, in addition to a whole host of registered championship regulars and the region's top drivers.

Heading the international contingent will be two crews travelling all the way from the United Kingdom to take part in the traditional two-day event in the deserts of the emirate of Dubai. David Scialom has visited several rounds of the championship in the last few years and is looking forward to taking part in his second Dubai Rally with co-driver Andy Tatham in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5.

Austrian veteran Rudi Stohl took part last season and enjoyed his first experience of the Gulf deserts with his guest co-driver and competition winner Elzabeth Wittmann in a Mitsubishi Lancer. He held sixth position until he was forced to limp through the final stage with a damaged radiator sustained in the unlucky 13th stage.

This year he will not be driving in Dubai, but his place will be taken by Andreas Wimmer and co-driver Michel Kolbach in a Stohl Racing Subaru Impreza. Stohl's son Manfred has been one of the stars of this year's FIA World Rally Championship and became a rallying superstar back in May when he finished second overall in the prestigious Cyprus Rally, beaten only by the runaway World Champion Sebastien Loeb in his all-conquering Citroen Xsara.

Italian Lorenzo Ontano has been a regular to the region in the past few seasons and he plans to return in his trusty Subaru Impreza, where he will line-up alongside a former championship regular from the United Kingdom.

Briton Simon Nutter contested several Middle East championships in his trusty, two-wheel drive Peugeot 205 GTI in the mid-1990s and last visited the Gulf region to take part in the Bahrain Rally a couple of years ago. A coffee shop owner and businessman from Kirkby Lonsdale in northern England, Nutter enjoys his visits to the Middle East and is relishing the challenge of unleashing a new Subaru Impreza on the desert stages. ~It will be fantastic to be back and see all the old faces again,~ enthused the Briton, who will be co-driven by Sean Kukula.

~It is great to see this international interest in our event again,~ said Mohammed Juma Bin Bakheit, President of the Organising Committee. ~This year's FIA Middle East championship has been decided in favour of Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, but there are several other scores to be settled and it is a major boost for the organisers to see these international names on the entry list.~

The event is based at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel and has further support from the Rehab Rotana Hotel and Al-Jumeira Rotana Hotel, Gulf Commercial Group, Sky Electronics, AMD and GTS, the recovery and towing company.

For further information, please contact the ATC of the UAE, PO Box 5078, Dubai, UAE. Tel: + 9714 2284019, Fax: + 9714 2283159, e-mail: atcuae@emirates.net.ae. www.dubairally.com

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 20005 Dubai International Rally Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: Dubai mobile + (971 50) 3616881, UK mobile + 44 7831 123153 and e-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com.
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

and

Atala Abousaleh, 2005 Dubai International Rally, Arabic Press Officer, Dubai mobile: + (971 50) 6469853, e-mail: wisam_mm@emirates.net.ae

Date issued: 05/11/2005

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
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