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MERC Teams arrive in Muscat to prepare for Rally Oman 2006

Rally Oman 2006
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3 of 8

For immediate release
Monday, April 3rd, 2006

INTERNATIONAL TEAMS ARRIVE IN MUSCAT
TO PREPARE FOR THIS WEEK'S RALLY OMAN

Organisers prepare all-new 'super special' stage at Wattayah

MUSCAT (Oman): International rally teams from as far afield as Austria, Great Britain and southern Ireland have arrived in Muscat to make their final preparations before the start of this weekend's Rally Oman, being organised by Intevents under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism, with assistance from the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the Royal Oman Police, the Ministry of Interior, MOD and Muscat Municipality.

The third round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship will get underway with what promises to be a thrilling 3.4 km 'spectator' stage within the confines of the Maidan Al Fateh parade ground in Wattayah on Wednesday evening (April 5th) from 19.45 hrs. Engineers and groundworkers have been working against the clock to prepare the purpose-built track to exacting FIA standards in time for over an hour of high-speed motorsport action in the Sultanate of Oman.

The stage is being constructed so that cars take to the start in pairs and tackle four laps of the circuit in front of what event organisers hope could be a crowd of between 10,000 and 15,000 people. The special stage features a cross-over bridge, tight gravel corners and several fast and dusty straights which are likely to test each of the drivers to the limit.

To add that extra buzz of excitement to proceedings, event officials will also be staging a rock concert at the same time with leading local band Miami on track to entertain the crowds from 19.00 hrs (7 pm). Similar stages have been used in recent rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship at Langley Park in Perth, the Millennium stadium in Cardiff and in the Olympic stadium in Athens.

~This is not a new concept in the WRC, but we are introducing this format for the first time in the Middle East,~ enthused Rally Oman's Finnish Clerk of the Course Simo Lampinen, a veteran of many WRC events as a driver and organiser. ~Everything is running smoothly and on track for a really exciting start to Rally Oman on Wednesday evening. Regional event officials have run numerous spectator stages before, but holding this stage in the confines of a stadium is a first for the Middle East.~

While officials put the finishing touches to the demanding route of the three-day event, teams have been permitted to carry out a two-day 'recce' of the special stages, which will be used in the nearby Hajar mountains on Thursday and Friday. Gravel sections in the Sultanate are some of the finest in the world and have given the event in Oman a formidable reputation. This year's rally is further bolstered with support from Bank Muscat, Gulf Air and Intercontinental Hotels.

~Nasser and I tackle several rallies in the WRC and some of those stages are nowhere near as good as the ones we have here in Oman,~ enthused Ulsterman Chris Patterson, co-driver to Qatar's defending regional champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah. ~They are fast, flowing and offer a real challenge without wrecking the car. We all enjoy coming here to take part in this event. It is always friendly and competitive.~

Each team is alotted a time to carry out their own checks of the tracks in each of the gravel stages, prior to official documentation and scrutineering on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, several leading teams, sponsors and officials will attend a pre-event press conference in the rally media centre at Maidan Al Fateh in Wattayah on Tuesday evening to kick-start the official proceedings.

One driver who will not be making the start, however, is the former Jordan national champion Amjad Farrah, the leading non-Subaru driver in the regional championship. Work commitments in Amman mean that he was forced to withdraw from the event at the end of last week.

Further support for Rally Oman 2006 comes from official communications partner Oman Mobile, leading energy drink producer Red Bull, Precision Tune Autocare, Automan magazine, Infocomm (the official WAP
Provider) and Baabood Computers.

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2006 Rally Oman Press Officer, Media Centre, Maidan Al Fateh, Wattayah, Muscat.
Tel: + (968) 2456 8039, Fax: + (968) 2456 8093, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 or Dubai Mobile: + 971 50 361 6881, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)



Date issued: 03/04/2006

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