MERC Kuwait returns to international rallying scene
KUWAIT INTERNATIONAL RALLY, February 28th-March 1st 2008
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, official candidate event
For immediate release
Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
KUWAIT SET TO STAGE FIA MIDDLE EAST RALLY
CHAMPIONSHIP CANDIDATE EVENT IN FEBRUARY
Jordanian Walid Mihyar appointed Clerk of the Course
Challenging new route planned for Kuwait’s rallying return
KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait): The Kuwait Motor Sport Club (KMSC) is preparing to host the 2008 Kuwait International Rally, an official FIA sanctioned candidate event for the 2009 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, between February 28th and March 1st. The event will run under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait.
The new Kuwaiti National Sporting Authority (ASN) is currently finalising the event itinerary and timetable for the two-day desert rally that event officials hope will propel the country back into a rallying spotlight that it last experienced in 1995 and 1996. The event is being organised under the presidency of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dawood Al-Sabah, with Jordanian consultant Walid Mihyar working as clerk of the course of the event for the first time. Mihyar has considerable experience in regional motorsport and has worked in a similar capacity in Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria in recent years.
“After becoming a member of the FIA we, at the KMSC, have to hold different motorsporting activities, including rallies,” said Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dawood Al-Sabah, President of the KMSC. “We hope that this rally will be a great achievement and experience future success in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.”
Kuwait was one of the first countries to host rallying in the Middle East in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the Kuwait International Rally was an integral round of the FIA regional series until the onset of the Iraqi invasion in 1989 and the subsequent Gulf War. It benefited from early input by the likes of David Richards, Paul White and Terry Plant and was a popular round of the championship in the halcyon days of Qatar’s Saeed Al-Hajri, the UAE’s Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Lebanon’s Michel Saleh and Oman’s Tony Georgiou.
The Kuwait International Rally returned to the championship calendar in 1995 and 1996 and ran in 1995 as the Martyrs’ Rally, in memory of Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, who was a prominent member of the ruling Al-Sabah family to lose his life defending the Sief Palace during the Iraqi invasion in 1990.
“Kuwait was one of the pioneer countries in the region to organise the sport,” said Walid Mihyar, Rally Director and Clerk of the Course. “We want to bring Kuwait back to that leading role. Everyone is giving us their full co-operation and we have sourced some very good special stages.”
The event will be based at the Kuwait Shooting Club and gets underway with a timed super special stage at the Jaber Al Ahmad International Circuit in Kuwait City on Thursday, February 28th. Leg one continues with a further six gravel special stages on Friday, February 29th.
The second and final leg consists of six further gravel stages and a re-run of the super special on Saturday, March 1st. In a total route of 720.54km, there will be 248.72 competitive kilometres and teams will be permitted to carry out reconnaissance on February 26-27th.
The KMSC has also launched a new official website – www.q8racing.com - for the new event and this will show latest news, event regulations, the rally timetable and results from the new rally in due course.
Entries for the first Kuwait Rally since 1996 are now open and will close on Wednesday, February 13th. For further information, please contact the Kuwait Motor Sport Club, PO Box 29, Salmiya, 22001 Kuwait, Tel: + (965) 535 5511/22, Fax: + (965) 535 5566, E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, www.q8racing.com
For further media information:
Neil Perkins, International Media Liaison Officer, 2008 Kuwait International Rally, NDP Publicity Services, Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)