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MERC Thirty three teams set to tackle Dubai International Rally

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

For immediate release
Monday, November 21st, 2005

THIRTY-THREE TEAMS SET TO TACKLE
2005 DUBAI INTERNATIONAL RALLY

Sheikh Suhail bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum, Sheikh Abdullah Al-
Qassimi and Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi line-up for Dubai Rally

DUBAI (UAE): The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE have published the final entry list for next week's Dubai International Rally to be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Department. Thirty-three teams will take part in the event on December 1st-2nd.

No less than eight UAE-based rally teams will take the start of the final round of this year's FIA Middle East Rally Championship, with Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi and Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum leading the home challenge for honours on an event which has been won by Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah for the last two years.

Sheikh Khalid was last year's regional rally champion and is assured of second place in the series this year, after taking a series of second places in his Subaru Impreza WRX STi. He will team up with Britain's Nicky Beech for the second successive event, as he bids to end the season on a winning note in his Ron Cremen-run car.

Khalid's brother Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi is a multiple Group N champion and bounced back to form in Syria after a season of mixed performances in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8. The Sharjah driver is keen to end the year with a podium finish, as he prepares for a full challenge for honours in 2006. He will be co-driven by the 2003 FIA Middle East Championship-winning co-driver Steve Lancaster.

Their closest rival over the two days' of gravel special stages in the Jebel Ali, Madam and Hatta area of the Dubai emirate is likely to be the UAE's Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum and his co-driver Wael Marjan. Sheikh Suhail missed the last two rounds of the series in Syria and Cyprus, but always enjoys competing in the UAE and is determined to end the year with his first win. He has vowed to return for a full challenge for honours in 2006.

Lebanese veteran Michel Saleh now resides in the UAE and has tackled the regional championship since the Gulf series was formed at the start of the 1980s. Saleh and co-driver Ziad Chehab have a rapid turn of speed, but have suffered from car unreliability and bad luck this year.

Also representing the UAE on the international entry list will be the former Group N regional champion Ron Oakeley and co-driver Jamie Turner in their Subaru Impreza. Oakeley is a consistent performer and enjoys his rallying. UAE-based Liverpudlian Chris Cargill and co-driver Charles Hatfield will use a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution , while Yayha Al-Amri and Sadiq Fadhel complete the UAE line-up in their respective Subaru and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8.

~The UAE has a great heritage of nurturing the talents of young rally drivers,~ said Mohammed Juma Bin Bakheit, President of the Organising Committee. ~Over the years we ave produced some of the very best drivers in the region. There are eight UAE teams taking part in the Dubai International Rally and I am sure that at least four of them will expect to be challenging for a place on the podium.~

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.

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: 21/11/2005

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
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Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
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