MERC Syrian organisers announce 2006 Syrian International Rally

2006 Syrian International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 6 of 8

For immediate release
Monday, July 10th, 2006


Syrian Hani Shaban takes over as Clerk of the Course;
Saydnaya base for Syrian gravel round of the MERC

DAMASCUS (Syria): The Syrian Automobile Club (SAC) has announced the 7th running of the Syrian International Rally, taking place on August 30th-September 2nd, under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism and organised by the SAC.

The event will be based at the town of Saydnaya, north of Damascus, for the third time after starting and finishing in the capital Damascus between 2000 and 2003. This year’s event will run from Thursday to Saturday for the first time after finishing on a Friday for the last four years.

Syrian Hani Shaban will act as Clerk of the Course for the first time and becomes the first Syrian in the history of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship to hold such a role of office. Last year the SAC appointed Sweden’s Bengt Gustavsson to fulfil a similar role.

“We have been working at length to make some modifications to the special stages,” admitted Shaban. “All the changes made are in the interests of safety for the competitors and I have already passed through the stage with Derek Ledger from the FIA and Wolfgang Schindele, from Italy, to carry out detailed checks on the route.”

This year’s Syrian International Rally will also feature Schindele’s live tracking technology for the first time, as the SAC bids to police stage safety and security more accurately. This technology was used in the recent WRC candidate event in Jordan and Schindele’s software and equipment have also been used extensively in the UAE and Qatar.

Shaban is currently putting the finishing touches to the event itinerary and is relishing the prospect of seeing all the championship regulars pushing for honours over the dusty, gravel roads in the mountains north of Damascus.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah won the event last season in his Subaru Impreza WRX STi and the defending regional champion heads to Syria with an 18-point lead in the championship over the UAE’s Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum. Beating the UAE driver by two points would ensure the Qatari of the regional title for the third time in four seasons, but he faces the added pressure of needing to finish at all costs.

Prior commitments to the UAE Desert Challenge in November with the X-Raid Team and the Asian Games in Doha in his role as a skeet shooter at the start of December mean that Al-Attiyah may be unable to compete in the final two rounds of the regional rally series in Cyprus and Dubai.

Support for this year’s Syrian International Rally comes from Areeba, the Sheraton Ma’aret Saydnaya, Syria’s Al-Ghad radio station and Kawalees.

Regulations and further information about entries and concessions are available from Hani Shaban, Vice President of the SAC and Chairman of the Sporting Committee of the SAC, PO Box 36256, Damascus, Syria, Tel: 963 11 2323706, Fax: + 963 11 2312785 and Mobile: + 963 94 336465. Regulations and further information about the event are also available from www.syrianrally.com


For further media information:
Lutfi Estwani, Arabic Press Officer, Tel: + 963 11 232 3706, Fax: + 963 11 231 2785, Mobile: + 963 93234445
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, English Press Officer, Syrian International Rally, NCH Building, Upper Bar, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 7EH, Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Fax: + (44) 1952 825001, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)


Date issued: 10/07/2006

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
Holly House, Station Road, Newport,
Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7831 123153 (UK)

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