Im­pres­sive en­try list for Manateq Rally of Qatar

Three MERC, MERC 2 and MERC 3 ti­tles were all de­cided at penul­ti­mate round in Kuwait last week

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT - By Sports Re­porter

The Qatar Mo­tor and Mo­tor­cy­cle Fed­er­a­tion (QMMF) has an­nounced that 19 teams (sub­ject to FIA ap­proval) have en­tered next week’s Manateq In­ter­na­tional Rally of Qatar, the fi­nal round of the FIA Mid­dle East Rally Cham­pi­onship (MERC).

The three MERC, MERC 2 and MERC 3 ti­tles were all de­cided at last week­end’s thrilling penul­ti­mate round in Kuwait. Many of the teams that took part in that event at the new Kuwait Mo­tor Town rac­ing fa­cil­ity loaded their cars and equip­ment on a ship bound for Doha and they will be joined by a host of other driv­ers, in­clud­ing sev­eral teams mak­ing their MERC de­but on the three­day Qatar event (November 15-17).

While the likes of 14-time re­gional cham­pion Nasser Saleh al-At­tiyah and his Czech ri­val Vo­jtech Stajf will clash again in the over­all rank­ings with their re­spec­tive Ford Fi­esta and Škoda Fabia R5s, com­pe­ti­tion in the MERC 2 or show­room cat­e­gory will be in­tense.

Fur­ther Qatari en­tries come from Khaled al-Suwaidi (the for­mer win­ner of the Kuwait In­ter­na­tional Rally), a re­turn­ing Ab­dul­lah al-Kuwari and the likes of 1993 re­gional cham­pion Sheikh Hamed bin Eid al-Thani, Mo­hamed alMeer and Rashid al-Mo­han­nadi.

MERC 2 cham­pion Me­shari al-The­firi and Es­sam al-Ne­jadi rep­re­sent Kuwait. Khaled Juma, Ihab al-Sho­rafa and Ahmed Sha­ban are en­tered un­der the flag of the Hashemite King­dom of Jor­dan and the new MERC 3 cham­pion Henry Kahy rep­re­sents Le­banon with his Jor­da­nian nav­i­ga­tor Musa Djiy­e­rian. The sur­prise on the list is the im­pres­sive six-car en­try from the Sul­tanate of Oman. Ab­dul­lah al-Rawahi has been a reg­u­lar in the re­gional se­ries this year, but the Top Team Oman Subaru Im­preza driver will be joined in Qatar by five other crews.

Three Mit­subishi Lancers are listed for Hu­maid al-Waili, Jarah al-Tauqi and Saif Ab­dul­lah al-Harthy and a fur­ther two Subaru Im­prezas for Zakariya al-Shan­fari and Oman-based Shaun McGoni­gal.

QMMF pres­i­dent Ab­dul­rah­man alMan­nai said: “The team have worked hard to en­cour­age as many en­tries as we can for the fi­nal round of the Mid­dle East Cham­pi­onship and we are very pleased with the out­come, es­pe­cially af­ter each of the ma­jor three cat­e­gories were de­cided in Kuwait.

“We have a date clash with Rally Aus­tralia, as we were hop­ing to en­cour­age even more com­peti­tors to come to Qatar from Europe, but it bodes well for the fu­ture strength of the cham­pi­onship.”

The event will start and fin­ish at Souq Waqif in down­town Doha with the cer­e­mo­nial start planned for 19.00hrs on November 15.

Qatar's Nasser Saleh al-At­tiyah (left) and Khaled al-Suwaidi will be in ac­tion at next week’s Manateq In­ter­na­tional Rally of Qatar, the fi­nal round of the MERC.

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