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MERC Syrian organisers announce revised 2007 Syrian International Rally

2007 Syrian International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 5 of 8

For immediate release
Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

SYRIAN AUTOMOBILE CLUB ANNOUNCE
COMPACT NEW SYRIAN INTERNATIONAL RALLY

Syrian Hani Shaban takes over as Clerk of the Course;
All-Syrian organising committee for new-look event

DAMASCUS (Syria): The Syrian Automobile Club (SAC) have announced the 7th running of the Syrian International Rally, taking place on June 7th-9th, under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism and organised by the SAC.

The event will be based at the Sheraton Ma'aret in 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 four of the last five years. The event was cancelled in 2006 because of the Israel-Lebanon situation.

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. He heads an entire Syrian organising committee for the first time.

~We have made several bespoke changes to the route and the format of the rally for 2007,~ said Shaban. ~We have come up with a new service park, much closer to the special stages in Nabk, and introduced a new ceremonial start in the middle of downtown Damascus.~

The timetable gets underway with the ceremonial start in Damascus on Thursday, June 7th, with the special stages taking place over the following two days. The podium finish will be in the grounds of the Sheraton Ma'aret Saydnaya on Saturday, June 9th.

This year's Syrian International Rally will also feature 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 regional round in Jordan and is based upon software and equipment introduced by a company Sporttraxx, managed by Italian Wolfgang Schindele. This system has already been in used with success on European Baja-type events and on regional events in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The organising team are currently putting the finishing touches to the rally, which will feature 13 timed gravel special stages over two days and a total competitive distance of around 268km.

Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah won the event in 2005 in his Subaru Impreza WRX STi, but the defending regional champion heads to Syria 13 points behind his arch rival Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi in the championship standings after a dramatic win for the UAE driver in Jordan last weekend. Officials are expecting all the championship regulars to take part in Syria's premier motorsport event.

Major support for this year's Syrian International Rally comes from Hamsho International, with further sponsorship from the Sheraton Ma'aret Saydnaya, the Syrian Insurance Company, Radio Syria Alghad,
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

Ends

For further media information:
Lutfi Estwani, Arabic Press Officer, Tel: + 963 11 232 3706, Fax: + 963 11 231 2785, Mobile: + 963 93234445
or
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International 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)

www.syrianrally.com
www.merc-fia.com

Date issued: 15/05/2007

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
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