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Press Release


19 November, 2014


19 November, 2014

UAE’s longest running international sports event given powerful backing at climax of Middle East championship

Dubai, UAE, 19  November, 2014:  The Dubai International Rally has received a major boost from Sharjah Sports Council as the UAE’s longest running international sports event prepares to deliver an intriguing climax to the 2014 FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

Sharjah Sports Council General Secretary, Ahmed Al Fardan, has confirmed that the Emirate will provide major logistical support for the event when it rounds off the Middle East series from 27-29 November.

This followed a meeting granted earlier this week by H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah,  for Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the rally organisers.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi will be aiming to end a series of frustrations in the Dubai International Rally in his Abu Dhabi Racing Citroën.            

“The Dubai International Rally is an important part of the UAE’s sporting history and it is an event which brings together competitors, volunteers and others from across the Emirates,” said Al Fardan.

“We are happy to host much of the competitive stages of the rally in Sharjah, and the government authorities here are committed to working closely with the ATCUAE, the national motor sport authority, to ensure the event’s long running success story continues.”

Sulayem, the FIA Vice President, said: “We’re indebted to His Highness for his encouragement and for the overall support that we are being offered by Sharjah Sports Council.

“They are co-ordinating efforts to ensure we receive key logisitical support from the Police, ambulance service, municipality and other Sharjah government departments. This is essential for the event, and it reflects how highly the Dubai International Rally is valued by the authorities in the UAE as a whole.”

The 36th edition of the Dubai International Rally, traditionally the final and decisive round of the FIA Middle East Championship, is being held under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,President of the UAE National Olympic Committee. It is one of the main attractions of the 2nd edition of Dubai Motor Festival.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, the last UAE driver to win the event, must aim to end an eight-year wait for his third victory in Dubai if he is to snatch the FIA Middle East title for a second time.

The Emirati driver enters the sixth and final round of this year’s regional series trailing defending champion Nasser Al Attiyah by six points. Barring a disaster for the Qatari, only a win in Dubai will be enough to give Al Qassimi the Middle East crown he captured in 2004.

With another Qatari, Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, just three points further adrift in third place, it all adds up to a fascinating title showdown following previous rounds in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon and Cyprus.

While Al Attiyah has dominated the event for the last seven years, Al Qassimi will be determined to add to his back-to-back Dubai Rally victories in 2005 and 2006. With 25 points going to the winner and 18 points for second place, he will be assured of the Middle East title if he can find success on home territory, where he has endured a series of frustrations in recent years.

In 2010 a blown engine put him out of the event after he had powered his way into an impressive first leg lead. Last year, a double puncture at the end of the final stage ended his challenge after he had won the first four of the second leg’s six special stages in his Abu Dhabi Racing Citroën DS3 RRC to go within 15.4 seconds of Al Attiyah.

The rally gets under way with a ceremonial start at Dubai World Trade Centre at 7.30pm on Thursday 27 November before two days of desert special stage action in the Al Dhaid, Kadra and Mileiha areas.

For a fifth year the rally will be based at Dubai Men’s College, in the Higher Colleges of Technology campus at Academic City, Dubai, which hosts the Rally HQ, media centre and service park, and will also be the venue for pre-event scrutineering.

FIA Middle East Rally Championship standings after 5 of 6 rounds

1          Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT)                   75pts

2          Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE)                  69

3          Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (QAT)              66

4          Abdulla Al Kuwari (QAT)                 39

5          Abdullah Al Qassimi (UAE)              27

6          Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA)                      27

Group N standings

1          Meshari Al Thefiri (KWT)                  89pts

2          Khalifa Al Attiyah (QAT)                  58

3          Edith Weiss (QAT)                             49

4          Nada Zaidan (QAT)                           46

5          Nicolas Amiouni (LEB)                      25

6          Husam Salem (JOR)                           25