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MERC Jordan champion Faris Bustami prepares for Dubai Rally

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

For immediate release
Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

NEWLY-CROWNED JORDAN CHAMPION
BUSTAMI PREPARES FOR DUBAI RALLY

Abu Khoura to fly the Syrian flag in Dubai Rally;
Two Italian teams in official starting line-up

DUBAI (UAE): The recently-crowned Jordan National Rally Champion Faris Bustami is eagerly awaiting the start of this weekend's Dubai International Rallly, behind held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Department.

Bustami clinched his national title for a fourth time in an event in Jordan on November 18th and is confident that he and co-driver Imad Juma'a can push for a podium finish on Thursday and Friday in Dubai. With support from Damas, Bustami has continued to make progress this season as a rally driver and fended off a fierce local challenge from Amjad Farrah to win the Jordanian national title.

~It was fantastic for me to win my national title again,~ said Bustami. ~It was a tough fight with Amjad and several other local drivers and I want to build upon that this weekend.~

Bustami has now won the championship in four of the last seven seasons - the Jordanian won for the first time in 1999 and repeating the feat in 2000, 2003 and this year. Other recent Jordan champions include Marouf Abu Samra in 1996 and 2001, Ahmed Al-Daoud in 1998 and Farrah himself in 2004. The Jordanian national series has royal connections as well - His Majesty King Abdullah bin Hussein of Jordan won the title in 1986 and 1988.

Meanwhile, Bashar Abu Khoura and Omar Al-Haitham are the sole Syrian representatives on the entry list for this weekend's two-day Dubai desert event, running across 13 timed special stages in the Ghantoot, Margham and Hatta areas of the Dubai emirate.

The Syria International Rally entered the series for the first time in 2001 after running as an FIA candidate event the previous season. Since then several Syrian drivers have competed in select rounds of the championship and the Syrian event in September has become one of the most popular rounds of the series with its sequence of testing gravel stages in the hills north of Damascus.

This year's Dubai International Rally has also attracted two Italian teams and one Austrian pairing. Subaru Impreza drivers Lorenzo Ontano and Domenico Caldarola will represent Italy, while Austrians Andreas Wimmer and Michel Kolbach will run a Stohl Racing Subaru.

Each of the teams have spent the last two days making low-speed passes through the special stages to ensure that they have noted all the potentially dangerous and tricky sections in their notes. Events such as the Dubai and UAE international rallies differ from events such as the UAE Desert Challenge and last weekend's Qatar Baja, as the routes for each day of the longer cross-country events are kept secret from competitors until the evening before the actual competition.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) will mark the official pre-event press conference for officials and leading teams at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai. Cars will be checked to ensure they comply fully with FIA technical regulations at the Tasjeel garage in Sharjah on Wednesday morning.

This weekend's Dubai International Rally will start at 09.30 hrs from the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel on Thursday morning. It has attracted further support from Emirates Petroleum Production Company (Tasjeel), the Rehab Rotana Hotel and Al-Jumeira Rotana Hotel, Gulf Commercial Group, Emirates Computers, Sky Electronics, AMD and GTS, the recovery and towing company.

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Media Centre, Salsabeel Room, Lower Ground Floor, Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Dubai, UAE, Tel: + 971 50 6459647, Fax: + 971 4 7054182, Dubai mobile + (971 50) 3616881 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

www.dubairally.com

Date issued: 29/11/2005

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