MERC Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah bids to enter the record books
2005 Dubai International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 8 of 8
For immediate release
Wednesday, November 16th, 2004
QATAR'S NASSER SALEH AL-ATTIYAH
BIDS TO ENTER THE RECORD BOOKS
Qatari regional champion can create
history with clean sweep in Dubai
DUBAI (UAE): The recently-crowned FIA Middle East rally champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah can create history at the start of December by becoming the first Arab driver ever to win all eight rounds of the regional rally series in the same season.
The Qatari has won seven rounds to date and amassed 70 championship points. He starts as the clear favourite to make it eight wins in a row on the 2005 Dubai International Rally, the final round of this year's series, which 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.
~It would be a fantastic achievement. I have been thinking about it for a few weeks now, since we won the last round in Cyprus,~ said Al-Attiyah, fresh from clinching 13th overall and fifth position in the P-WRC category of the Telstra Rally Australia in Perth. ~I have won seven rallies now this season and have not lost a race in the Middle East since the Syria Rally last September.~
That is a total of 10 successive rallies unbeaten in this part of the world for the Qatari star. The run began with victory in Cyprus last November and continued with a win in last year's Dubai International Rally and the Qatar Baja in a powerful Pro-Truck.
This season Al-Attiyah and Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson have won special stage rallies in Al-Ain, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, Syria and Cyprus and head for the start of the final event in Dubai, already crowned as FIA regional rally champions. Al-Atttiyah will even find time for some pre-event practice when he takes part in next week's Qatar Baja event in Doha.
~It would be a phenomenal achievement for Nasser, Chris and their team and I am sure they will be working hard for the historic win,~ said Mohammed Juma Bin Bakheit, President of the Organising Committee. ~But it will not be easy. The entry has been boosted in the days before the closing date and the region's very best drivers will be out in force to stop Nasser achieving his goal.~
Al-Attiyah had hoped to end the season with a unique winning double, which would have included the FIA Middle East title and the FIA P-WRC title. But he arrived in Perth last week trailing P-WRC series leader Toshi Arai by nine points. To overhaul the Japanese star he would have needed to win the category outright and hope that Arai retired from the event.
As it happened, Arai won the category and finished ninth overall to clinch the title and Al-Attiyah finished fifth, but had the consolation of beating his closest Argentinean rival Marcos Ligato.
The Dubai International Rally will be based at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel and has further support from Emirates Petroleum Production Company (TASJEEL), the Rehab Rotana Hotel and Al-Jumeira Rotana Hotel, Gulf Commercial Group, Sky Electronics, AMD and GTS, the recovery and towing company.
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Atala Abousaleh, 2005 Dubai International Rally, Arabic Press Officer, Dubai mobile: + (971 50) 6469853, e-mail: email@example.com