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MERC Oman event organisers announce Rally Oman 2007

Rally Oman 2007
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 2 of 7

For immediate release
Thursday, March 1st, 2007

OMAN EVENT ORGANISERS ANNOUNCE RALLY OMAN 2007

• Oman’s rally star Hamed Al-Wahaibi joins organising team for Rally Oman 2007
• Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah will start as pre-event favourite in Muscat
• New special stage at Wadi Daiqa for Sultanate's premier motorsport event

MUSCAT (Oman): Rally organisers and event officials in Muscat announced the running of Rally Oman 2007, today (Thursday). The three-day event will be the second round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and takes place in the Sultanate of Oman between March 14th and March 16th.

Rally Oman 2007 is supported and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism with assistance from the Ministry of Sports Affairs and is being organised by event management company Intevents in association with the Oman Automobile Association. Crucial support for this year’s rally comes from Gulf Air, Intercontinental Hotels, Muscat Municipality and Red Bull.

“We are very please to once again be the lead supporter of Rally Oman,” enthused His Excellency Mohammed bin Hamoud Al-Tobi, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism. “The rally is the most prestigious motorsport event for Oman and delivers excellent international exposure for the country.”

The event has attracted all the major championship contenders and a large proportion of the 31 registered drivers in this year’s FIA Middle East Rally Championship. Leading the way will be last year’s Rally Oman winner and defending FIA Middle East rally champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah in his trusty Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The Qatari, partnered by Northern Ireland’s Chris Patterson, is also the defending FIA P-WRC champion and holds the lead in this year’s regional series after winning 10 of the 15 special stages in the recent Qatar International Rally in Doha.

He faces stiff competition in Oman from the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, the 2005 regional champion, and Al-Qassimi’s brother Sheikh Abdullah. The pair were second and third overall in Qatar recently and need a top result to keep the pressure on Al-Attiyah, who will arrive in Oman directly from taking part in the Mexican round of the WRC next week. Teams will also take part in Oman from other GCC countries and as far afield as the UK and Austria.

Oman’s leading rally star, Hamed Al-Wahaibi, has switched his energies to a role within the organising team this year and has been appointed as chairman of the organising committee. “Rally Oman plays a very important role in the development of sports events as a part of the tourism marketing strategy,” said Al-Wahaibi, a former FIA Middle East Group N champion and competitor in the FIA World Rally Championship. “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to invest my time and experience into an event that has played such a major role in my rallying career.”

The event will get underway with an official pre-event press conference and documentation at the Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat on Wednesday, March 14th. That will be followed by two days of high-speed action on twisty gravel special stages through the scenic Hajar mountains between Muscat and Quriyat – over tracks that arguably constitute the finest stages in the entire FIA Middle East Championship.

Finland's Simo Lampinen will again act as the Clerk of the Course and has been joined on the organising team by Omani assistant clerk of the course Ahmed Soomar and British event consultant Peter Silberberg. Lampinen is a former factory rally driver and has also worked in organising roles on WRC events in Finland, Italy and Turkey.

“We have selected a series of stages on a compact route between Muscat and Quriyat this year,” said Lampinen. “This route includes a new stage around Wadi Daiqa, which is as challenging and exciting for the drivers as many stages in the WRC.”

The service park will be based at the Intercontinental Hotel ensuring a convenient location for members of the media, competitors, officials and spectators. The event is scheduled to finish at the Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat on Friday, March 16th.

For further information about Rally Oman 2007, contact the Oman Automobile Association, Tel: + 968 24510630, Fax: + 968 24510276 or Jeremy Alston (Mobile + 968 99269783), INTeVENTS, PO Box 268, Ruwi 112, Sultanate of Oman, E-mail: jeremy.alston@intevents.com

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, Rally Oman 2007 International Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, NCH Building, Upper Bar, Newport, Shropshire TF10 7EH, United Kingdom, Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

Date issued: 01/03/2007

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
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Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
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