Ab­dulla sets up drive for Manateq Qatar rally

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT - By Sports Re­porter

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.

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