MERC Qatar Rally officials announce revised 2008 event

2008 Qatar International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1

For immediate release
Thursday, December 6th, 2007




 Generous incentives available to rally teams from outside Qatar

QMMF introduces new and revised stages for 2008 MERC opener

DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, have confirmed that the Qatar International Rally will take place on January 24th-26th, 2008 and will be the opening round of the increasingly-popular 2008 FIA Middle East Rally Championship.


The State of Qatar has traditionally kick-started the regional rallying calendar, although event officials have introduced brand new stages and some challenging new tracks in the Qatar desert for next January’s event. Elie Semaan continues in his role of Clerk of the Course for the QMMF, under the presidency of Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah.


Semaan has confirmed that around half of the opening Losail stage will feature new terrain, while a quarter of both the Timbak and Heritage specials will be new. The team at the QMMF have also introduced two entirely new specials, sponsored by NBK and the QMMF and these will form the fourth, eighth, 10th and 14th stages of the rally. Both the Laffan and Al-Khor tests remain unchanged, although event organisers have made some modifications to the two Thakira specials.


“We are always trying to make improvements to the route and ensure that we continue to offer a challenging rally for competitors,” said Semaan. “The Qatar International Rally is one of the most popular rounds of the championship and we want to ensure that it stays at the forefront of the region’s motor sport heritage.”


Entries for the event have opened and will close on Friday, January 11th 2008. Administration and registration formalities will switch from the QMMF in Doha to the Losail circuit on Wednesday, January 23rd.


Competitors will be permitted to carry out a reconnaissance of the special stages on Tuesday, January 22nd and Wednesday, January 23rd,  before the event gets underway on Friday, January 25th at 08.30hrs.  Competitive action is expected to finish on Saturday afternoon and there will be an official podium ceremony at the Losail circuit from 14.30hrs.


The QMMF is offering generous incentives to overseas teams. Entrants from outside Qatar will receive a twin room (room only) at rally headquarters for two people between Monday, January 21st and Saturday, January 26th inclusive. Crews from outside Qatar will also receive reimbursement on two return economy air tickets.


“We have always received good support from foreign crews and hope that 2008 will be no exception,” said QMMF president Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah. “The QMMF is looking forward to hosting the opening round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and we are looking forward to a safe and successful rally.”


For further information about the 2008 Qatar International Rally, contact the Qatar Motor and Motor Cycle Federation, PO Box 8708, Doha, Qatar, Tel: + 974 437 9884/9885, Fax: + 974 437 9761, E-mail: info@qmmf.com and website: www.qmmf.com


Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, International Press Officer, 2008 Qatar International Rally, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)





Date issued: 06/12/2007

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