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MERC Syrian International Rally attracts top class entry of 33 cars

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

For immediate release
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

SYRIAN INTERNATIONAL RALLY ATTRACTS
TOP CLASS INTERNATIONAL 33-CAR ENTRY

Five Syrian teams set to tackle next round of MERC
New-look and compact format for 2007 Syrian Rally

DAMASCUS (Syria): The Syrian Automobile Club (SAC) have confirmed that the 7th Syrian International Rally has attracted a provisional 33 starters from nine countries. The event takes place between June 7-9th, under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism and is organised by the SAC.

The strongest international field in the short history of the Syrian round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship contains no less than five Syrian teams and all the regular championship contenders, including the UAE's series leader Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, Qatar's defending champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Jordan's top driver Amjad Farrah. There is also strong representation from Austria, Cyprus Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait and several other teams from Jordan and Qatar.

One of the top seeds in the Syrian Rally Team will be the experienced Haitham Al-Yousefi, who looks set to take part in the 13-stage event at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Bashar Abu Khoura has been a regular on the rally scene in the region since the Syrian Rally joined the championship in 2001 and he wheels out a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, alongside co-driver Omar Othym. Ahmed and Mohammed Hamsho and Mirar Al-Homsi complete the Syrian Rally Team line-up.

~We are delighted with the strength in depth of the entry for this year's new-look rally and are confident that our new stages and revised format will be well received by visiting competitors,~ said new Syrian clerk of the course Hani Shaban.

After a ceremonial start in Damascus on Thursday evening (June 7th) competitive action gets underway with a 12.6km special stage at Sabkha from 09.35 hrs on Friday, June 8th. Specials follow at Hafar and Baida, followed by service at Nabk, north of Saydnaya. The three tests are repeated in the afternoon, before a final 24.53km stage takes place at 14.45 hrs to bring the day's action to a close.

Leg two takes place on Saturday, June 9th and consists of two runs through the Deir Atteyah, Mrah and Nabk special stages. Action starts at 09.43hrs and is punctuated by service and a regroup in Nabk. The podium finish will take place in the grounds of the Sheraton Ma'aret Saydnaya from 16.35 hrs. In a total route of 761.93km, 263.69km will be competitive.

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.

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: 23/05/2007

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