Abdulla sets up drive for Manateq Qatar rally
Adel Abdulla has pieced together a last-minute deal to drive a powerful Ford Fiesta R5 in next week’s Manateq International Rally of Qatar, the final round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).
The former FIA T2 world champion has been tackling rounds of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in recent seasons, but has held the ambition of tackling his home round of the regional rally series since taking part in the event for the first time as a navigator in 1990.
The Doha-based driver will drive a car under the management of Roger Feghali’s Autotune operation and is hopeful that the experienced Lebanese navigator Joseph Matar will accompany him to the official start at Souq Waqif in downtown Doha from 19.00hrs next Thursday (November 15).
Abdulla said: “I saw that there were a lot of drivers entering the rally and I wanted to take part. I made the deal very late. It is my dream to do the Qatar International Rally. It is a good time of year, good weather and I think it will be good experience for me. There are no more races in the Cross-Country this year, so the timing is ideal.
“There are no plans to fight to win. I will do my best. It is my first time to drive this type of car. I did my first race here in 1990 and now I have a chance to do it as a driver after three years driving in the Cross-Country World Cup.”
Abdulla’s challenge for success comes with the support of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and Ooredoo Qatar.
While he is realistically not out to challenge the likes of 14-time regional champion Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah and his season-long Czech rival Vojtech Stajf in the R5 battle, Abdulla is hopeful that a podium finish is the realistic goal against a strong field of MERC 2 entrants.