Rally: Sulayem – Spiller duo back in action to compete this weekend in Ras Al Khaimah Rally
Dubai, UAE, 7 April, 2015: Mohammed Ben Sulayem switches from world championship event organiser to competitor this weekend to contest the Ras Al Khaimah Rally, Round 3 of the UAE Rally Championship 2015.
Driving a Ford Escort WRC, Sulayem will be reunited with co-driver John Spiller when he makes his second appearance of the season in Saturday’s event which is held under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saud Al Qassimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah
It comes just one week after Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and founder of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, successfully staged the 25th edition of the FIA World Cup and FIM World Championship rally.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel,” said Sulayem, who made his comeback in last month’s previous round of the UAE Rally Championship in Sharjah, 12 years after retiring from competitive motor sport.
“I really enjoyed the last round, and being so close to the action in the Desert Challenge also gave me an appetite for more competitive rallying.”
Sulayem had accepted an invitation to compete in the Sharjah Rally from Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, Founder and President of the Emirates Motorsport Club, organisers of the UAE National Rally Championship.
“Sheikh Abdullah is doing a great deal for rallying in the UAE and I’ve very happy to lend my support to help revive a sport we love,” said Sulayem. “The competitive edge is still there, and I’m looking forward to competing in Ras Al Khaimah for the very first time.”
Spiller, who was route director for the Desert Challenge, was co-driver for Sulayem at both ends of his record-breaking rallying career, helping him win two of his FIA Middle East Rally Championship titles, his second in 1987 and his last in 2002.
Sheikh Abdullah won the Sharjah Rally by 45 seconds from Sulayem who was driving the Ford Escort WRC for the first since he won the 1999 Jordan International Rally, after which the car was retired.
Getting under way at 9am on Saturday from Al Hamrania and Khat area, the Ras Al Khaimah Rally consists of three special stages each to be run three times for a total competitive distance of 127.95kms. The rally finishes at Al Manar Mall at 5.30pm.The full entry list will be announced by the Emirates Motorsport Club on Thursday.
UAE Rally Championship standings after 2 rounds
1. Sheikh Abduballa Al Qassimi (UAE) 75pts
2. NoohBuhomaid (UAE) 38
3. Ibrahim Al Mohana (KSA) 38
4. Ali Al Shawi (UAE) 28
5. Ian Barker (UAE) 26
7. Khalid Al Manji (Oman) 15
8. Mohamed Ammar (UAE) 12
9. Faisal Al Rashidi(Oman) 12
10. Ali Mattar Al Ketbi (UAE) 10