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NEW SYSTEM TO KEEP MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ON TRACK FOR BRIGHT FUTURE

19 December, 2012

As regional series prepares for Qatar launch, FIA Vice President Sulayem hopes fresh initiatives will mark start of new era

Dr.Mohammed Ben Sulayem – initiatives to boost entries.

Dr.Mohammed Ben Sulayem – initiatives to boost entries.

Dubai, UAE, 19 December, 2012:  A sophisticated new tracking system designed to eliminate route deviations which was tested successfully during the recent Dubai International Rally will be used throughout next year’s FIA Middle East Championship starting in Qatar next month.

Through tracking devices fitted onto rally cars, it shows when competitors stray off line by more than the ten-metre legal limit, so that rally organisers can impose time penalties.

The new upgraded system has been developed to ensure a fairer level of competition, with realistic penalties now replacing the harsher ones of recent years to allow those who stray off line to remain in contention.

The introduction of the new tracking system for the 2013 FIA Middle East Rally Championship has been approved by the World Motorsport Council as part of a series of measures to drive the regional series forward.

The plans have been initiated by Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, organisers of the Dubai International Rally, and Vice President of the FIA, motor sport’s world governing body.

With the Qatar International Rally on 25-26 January launching the 2013 FIA regional series, Sulayem said: “We hope that the steps we are taking to rebuild interest and attract more entries, especially from young Arab drivers, will mark the start of a new era for the championship.”

The new tracking system has been widely welcomed by drivers, including Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah who retained his Middle East title with his sixth successive victory in Dubai.

At the end Al Attiyah said: “I think it works very well and is a great for the championship moving forward. It’s important for all drivers to respect the system, and many are not entirely aware when they are cutting corners and what effect it has. Even I was guilty in this rally.”

The new-look FIA Middle East series will include three new parallel championships for Group N production cars, young drivers, and 2WD vehicles, as well as a T3 category for the first time for 2WD and 4WD buggies.

FIA Middle East Rally Championship calendar

25-26 January             Qatar International Rally

21-23 March                Kuwait International Rally

9-11 May                       Jordan Rally

6-8 September           36th Rally of Lebanon

3-5 October                 Syrian International Rally (Candidate event for inclusion in 2014)

1-3 November             Cyprus Rally

28-30 November        Dubai International Rally

A new tracking system will ensure fairer competition across the FIA Middle East Rally Championship in 2013