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MERC Five Omani rally crews prepare for Rally Oman 2007

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

For immediate release
Thursday, March 8th, 2007

OMANI DRIVERS PREPARE FOR NEXT WEEK’S RALLY OMAN

• Five all-Omani crews prepare for Rally Oman showdown
• Khalil Soomar Al-Zadjali heads home contingent in Muscat

MUSCAT (Oman): Five Oman rally teams will take part in next weekend’s Rally Oman, round two of the 2007 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, which gets underway at the Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat at 16.00 hrs on Wednesday, March 14th.

Former regional Group N rally champion Hamed Al-Wahaibi has switched to an organising role this year and that means that Khalid Soomar Al-Zadjali will head the Omani contingent into the three-day event, which is being held with the crucial support of the Ministry of Tourism with assistance from the Ministry of Sports Affairs.

Al-Zadjali will line-up against 32 other drivers at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII and will be co-driven by Naif Al-Obaidani. He is the first of five drivers representing the Oman Rally Team, which also includes Hamoud Salim Abdullah Al-Toqi and Mohammed Ahmed Khanifar Al-Wardy in a second Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII.

Khalil Soomar Al-Zadjali and Amir Faqir Al-Zadjali have entered the event in a third Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, although the fourth and fifth members of the Oman Rally Team will compete in a pair of Subaru Impreza WRX STis. Khalid Saleh Duhai Al-Minji teams up with Khalid Hamad Nasser Al-Minji, while Ibrahim Salim Mohammed Al-Abri is partnered by Salim Shaikhan Zahir Al-Abri.

Omani drivers have had mixed fortunes in recent Oman international rallies, although Nizar Al-Shanfari managed to reach the podium in third overall last season behind Qatar’s winning Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and the UAE’s runner-up Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum. Al-Attiyah also won the event in 2004 and 2005.

In 2005, Khalid Soomar managed to finish in seventh overall with co-driver Yousof Al-Zadjali in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Oman-based Lebanese driver Toni Georgiou was 10th. Hamed Al-Wahaibi had dominated in the early stages and set a string of fastest stage times before succumbing to mechanical problems.

Rally Oman 2007 is presented by the Ministry of Tourism with assistance from the Ministry of Sports Affairs and Muscat Municipality. The event is organised by Intevents and the Oman Automobile Association, with crucial support from Gulf Air, OEPNA, Precision Tune, Infocomm, Baabood LLC, Intercontinental Hotels and Red Bull.

“It is very encouraging to see a strong team from the host nation keen to compete against the region’s top drivers next week,” said His Excellency Mohammed bin Hamoud Al-Tobi, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism. “The Sultanate of Oman has always been well represented in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and this year is no exception.”

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, Rally Oman 2007 International Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

www.omanrally.com

Date issued: 08/03/2007

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