MERC Sheikh Suhail and Saleh Bin Eidan lead in Kuwait
KUWAIT INTERNATIONAL RALLY, February 28th-March 1st 2008
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, official candidate event
For immediate release
Thursday, February 28th, 2008
SHIEKH SUHAIL AND SALEH BIN EIDAN LEAD
IN KUWAIT AFTER SUPER SPECIAL STAGE
Third place for Lebanon’s Michel Saleh
KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait): The UAE’s Sheikh Suhail Bin Khalifa Al-Maktoum and Kuwait’s Saleh Bin Eidan set the joint fastest time of 3m 39s in the opening timed 3.5km super special stage of the 2008 Kuwait International Rally at the Jaber Al Ahmad International Circuit, near Al Farwaneyah, on Thursday afternoon.
The candidate event for inclusion in the 2009 FIA Middle East Rally Championship is being organised by the Kuwait Motor Sports Club (KMSC) under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait.
Ten cars from six countries crossed the start line of Kuwait’s first FIA-sanctioned international rally for 13 years, but Al-Maktoum and Bin Eidan were the fastest through the super special stage with their respective co-drivers Wael Marjan and Abdel Aziz Abdel.
Lebanon’s Michel Saleh and Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi set the equal third fastest time of 3m 40s and Qatar’s Khalifa Saleh Al-Attiyah rounded off the top five by posting a time of 3m 43s. But Al-Rajhi was given a 20-second time penalty for arriving late into service and slipped to ninth overall.
Jordan’s Ammar Hizaji, the UAE’s Mohammed Tamjeed and Qatar’s Marwan Al-Raie were non-starters from the original entry list, although the main objective of the KMSC is to run a polished event to ensure its inclusion in next year’s regional rally series.
Tomorrow (Friday) competitive action will consist of six timed special stages and the day restarts at 09.00hrs, before teams head into the second 17.81km Al Salmi special. Runs through the punishing 30.06km Al Atraff stage and an 11.00km fourth test are next on the agenda.
A late morning service at the Kuwait Shooting Club will be followed by a re-run of the three specials on Friday afternoon, with teams due to finish the leg from 15.00hrs.
Positions after SS1 – super special stage (unofficial)
1. Suhail Bin Khalifa (UAE)/Wael Marjan (UAE) Subaru Impreza WRX STi 3m 39s
1. Saleh Bin Eidan (KT)/Abdel Aziz Abdul (KT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3m 39s
3. Michel Saleh (RL)/Joseph Mattar (RL) Subaru Impreza WRX N14 3m 40s
4. Khalifa Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Matthieu Baumel (F) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3m 43s
5. Misfer Al-Marri (QA)/Yousef Al-Asmar (UAE) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII 3m 46s
6. Khalid Al-Suwaidi (QA)/Rashid Al-Sulaiti (QA) Subaru Impreza WRX 3m 47s
7. David Scialom (GB)/Thomas Matthias (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX 3m 54s
8. Mohammed Al-Marri (QA)/Ali Al-Marri (QA) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII 3m 57s
9. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA)/Steve Lancaster (GB) Subaru Impreza WRX 4m 00s
10. Eid Falah (KT)/Khalid Khalifa (KT) Subaru Impreza WRX N10 4m 04s
For further media information:
Neil Perkins, International Media Liaison Officer, 2008 Kuwait International Rally, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)