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MERC Al Qassimi joins new team for MERC opener

2006 ADNOC Distribution UAE International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1 of 8

For immediate release
Saturday, January 14th, 2006

UAE'S AL-QASSIMI JOINS NEW
TEAM FOR MIDDLE EAST OPENER

Saudi Arabia's Al-Marri to take part in third Cremen car

ABU DHABI (UAE): Former FIA Middle East Group N rally champion Abdullah Al Qassimi will be joining a new team for the start of the 2006 ADNOC Distribution UAE International Rally, being held under the patronage of His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Minister of Interior, on January 25th-27th.

For the 2006 season the Sharjah driver will switch from his trusty Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 and take the start of the Al-Ain-based event in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi - the car run by his brother Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi to finish second in last year's FIA regional series.

~We made the decision some time ago and will join the team run by Ron Cremen,~ said Al-Qassimi. ~The Subaru seems to be the car of the moment in this form of motorsport and it was an obvious decision for us. I will be part of a three-car team running alongside my brother Khalid.~

Cremen built his reputation as a driver in his own right and won the FIA Middle East's Formula Two series back in the 1990s. Last year he ran Subarus for both the 2003 champion Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum, with both drivers regularly placed inside the top three on regional rallies.

Cremen will oversee the running of both the Al-Qassimi cars in 2006 and will have eight mechanics on hand on each event and an engineer flown in especially from Prodrive in England. This Banbury-based company was established in the early 1980s by former co-driver David Richards and has become one of the most respected car preparation concerns in the world, taking the Subaru brand name, to name just one, from an agricultural and farming background to the forefront of four-wheel drive performance technology.

Cremen's team will also run a third car for the Saudi Arabian driver Abdullah Al-Marri. This Subaru Impreza WRX STi will be serviced and maintained by Cremen's mechanics on all rounds of the regional championship. The Saudi's car will be co-driven by the experienced Omani co-driver Hamoud Al-Jabry.

~It is great to see the level of competition and the standard of rally cars taking part in our championship continuing to increase year-on-year,~ said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Chairman of the Automobile Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates. ~Abdullah and Khalid have continuing to achieve success on the special stages in the last couple of seasons and I am sure that they will be two of the favourites to win in Al-Ain.~

Additional support for the 2006 ADNOC Distribution UAE International Rally comes from Finance House, the Abu Dhabi Travel Bureau, Sky Electronic Line, AMD for computers, Gulf Commercial Group for photocopiers, Emirates Computers for Nokia telephones and GTS Towing Services .

For further information, please contact the ATC of the UAE, P.O.Box 27487, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Tel: + (971 2) 6212175, Fax: + (971 2) 6321593, E-mail: atcuae@emirates.net.ae www.atcuae.org

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, UAE International Rally Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile + 44 7831 123153 and e-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com.
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)
and
Atala Abusaleh, UAE International Rally, Arabic Press Officer, Mobile: + 971 50 6469853, e-mail: wisam_mm@emirates.net.ae

Date issued: 14/01/2006

For further information or assistance please contact:

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