MERC Nine Qatari crews set to tackle season opener in Doha

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

For immediate release
Thursday, January 10th, 2008





Nine Qatari teams set to tackle challenging all-desert rally

DOHA (Qatar): Nine Qatari rally teams dominate the entries so far received by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) for the opening round of the 2008 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, which takes place under the presidency of Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah on January 24th-26th.


The Qatar International Rally is the traditional opening round of the regional rally series and over 30 teams had registered with event officials at the end of this week. Defending regional champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson lead the field in their Subaru Impreza WRX STi, but other Doha-based drivers are sure to feature at the top of the overall classifications when competitive action fires into life later this month.


Misfer Al-Marri proved on the FIA World Rally Championship event in New Zealand last year that he has the pace and determination to match Al-Attiyah in the future and the talented Qatari will line-up alongside new Irish co-driver Stephen McAuley in a 2007 specification Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Jaralla Jahman and Ali-Al-Marri will also use a Subaru Impreza on the two-day, gravel rally, which features new and revised special stages this year.


Khalifa Saleh Al-Attiyah leads a group of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drivers, which also includes the Qatari duo of Khalid Al-Suwaidi and regular championship co-driver Rashid Al-Sulaiti in an Evolution 9. Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Suwaidi/Mohammed Al-Suwaidi, Abdulrahman Al-Hajri/Abdullah Al-Hajri and Mohammed Al-Marri/Fawzi Shegeer wheel out a trio of older Evolution 8 models.


“The entry we have received so far has strength in depth,” said a delighted Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah. “It is particularly encouraging to see so many Qatari drivers on the entry list for the first round of the championship this year. We have nine local crews competing in our home event and great support from other countries in the GCC and from Jordan, Lebanon and the United Kingdom.”


The 2008 Qatar International Rally gets underway on Friday, January 25th at 08.30hrs and competitive action is expected to finish on Saturday afternoon (January 26th). There will be an official podium ceremony at the Losail circuit, north of Doha, from 14.30hrs.


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: 10/01/2008

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