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MERC Al Attiyah edges into slender lead on opening UAE Rally stage

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

For immediate release
Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

QATAR'S AL-ATTIYAH TAKES FASTEST
TIME IN AL-AIN SUPER SPECIAL STAGE

Second place overnight for UAE's Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi;

AL AIN (UAE): Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson were the early leaders of the 2006 ADNOC Distribution UAE International Rally, after the opening five-kilometre timed super special stage, near Al-Ain, on Wednesday afternoon.

Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Nick Beech held second position in their Pirelli-backed Subaru Impreza, five seconds behind Al-Attiyah, and a mere second ahead of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi. Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum and co-driver Wael Marjan were fourth quickest in their new Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

Cars were flagged away from the official start at the Hilton Hotel in Al-Ain by Dr. Pilot Sheikh Mansour Bin Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Al-Nahyan in the presence of His Excellency Jamal Al-Tharif, General Manager of ADNOC Distribution, and Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Chairman of the Automobile Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates.

There will be six special stages in the Sweihan region of the Abu Dhabi emirate on Thursday. The event finishes on Friday afternoon at the Hilton Hotel in Al-Ain..

Positions after SS1 (unofficial @ 17.00 hrs):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Chris Patterson (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2m 23s
2. Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Nick Beech (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2m 28s
3. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Steve Lancaster (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2m 29s
4. Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum (UAE)/Wael Marjan (UAE) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2m 33s
5. Misfer Al-Marri (QA)/Adel Hussein (QA) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 2m 35s
6. Amjad Farrah (HKJ)/Khaled Zakaria (HKJ) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 2m 37s
7. Mufeed Mubarak (KWT)/Saad Al-Melaifi (KWT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 2m 39s
8. Yayha Al-Amri (UAE)/Craig Parry (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2m 42s
9. Ahmed Al-Sabban (KSA)/Killian Duffy (IRL) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 2m 43s

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, UAE International Rally Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Media Centre, Hilton Hotel, Al-Ain, UAE, Tel: + 971 3 7686396, Fax: + 971 3 7686323 and UAE mobile + 971 (050) 3616881 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: 25/01/2006

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
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