Rally: Kuwait gears up for round two of FIA Middle East Rally Championship
Three-day event set to take place on March 20-22 from Julai’a
· Kuwait’s new Sirbb race circuit to host ceremonial start and stage
Kuwait City, (Kuwait): The Kuwait Quarter Mile Auto & Motorcycle Club (KMRC) is putting the finishing touches to the format of the Kuwait International Rally, round two of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), which will take place on March 20-22.
Run in co-operation with the Kuwait International Automobile Club (KIAC), the now traditional second round of the regional series returned to the championship calendar in 2009 after running as a candidate rally the previous year. It was an integral part of the MERC before the first Gulf War in the late 1980s and, thereafter, only ran twice between 1989 and 2007.
Held across traditionally smoother desert surfaces than the opening round in Qatar last weekend, the Kuwait International has seen four different drivers earn outright success in the past six years.
Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi won the candidate event in 2008 and Qatari Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah secured the first of his three wins the following year. Emirati Khalid Al-Qassimi was victorious in 2010 with Ulster co-driver Michael Orr and Qatar’s Khalid Al-Suwaidi won his only ever MERC event in 2012 with British co-driver Nick Beech. Al-Attiyah was on the top of the podium in 2011 and 2013.
Held under the chairmanship of Sheikh Athbi Nayef Jaber Al-Sabah, this year’s rally will feature 13 special stages in a three-day format. The rally headquarters will be based at the Seashell Julai’a Hotel and Resort, south of Kuwait City, and the pre-event press conference and ceremonial start will take place at the nearby Sirbb circuit.
Rally director and clerk of the course Meshari Al-Sabti said: “Everything has come together nicely and we have a new super special stage for Thursday evening at the new Sirbb race circuit and then two legs of gravel special stages on Friday and Saturday.”
The closing date for entries is Saturday, March 6th. Reconnaissance of the special stages will be permitted on Tuesday, March 18th and Wednesday, March 19th and scrutineering will take place on Thursday, March 19th.