Rally: Local heroes looking to shine in this weekends Kuwait International Rally

Rally: Local heroes looking to shine in this weekends Kuwait International Rally
Meshari Al-Thafiri will be hoping to win the NR4 class in his home event this weekend.

Meshari Al-Thafiri will be hoping to win the NR4 class in his home event this weekend.

Kuwait, March 23rd, 2016-World rallying is synonymous with noise, power, cars sliding sideways and dust and gravel being showered over spectators by a leading group of drivers entered in state-of-the-art World Rally Cars and Regional Rally Cars.

That is not always the case on FIA sanctioned events around the world. Although this weekend’s Kuwait International Rally features some of the region’s top stars at the wheel of R5 rally cars that tick all those boxes, there are a group of unsung heroes competing further down the entry list in cars that are as close as you can get to the saloon you would take to the retail park on a weekend.

The entry list announced by the Basil Salem Al-Sabah Motor Racing Club (BMRC) for the second round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) features an impressive line-up of Mitsubishi Lancers and Subaru Imprezas entered in the NR4 class for Group N or ‘showroom’ cars.

Meshari Al-Thafiri currently leads the Kuwait national championship in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and has the experience and knowledge of the local deserts to give him and Qatari navigator Nasser Al-Kuwari a superb chance to win the NR4 class. A former runner-up to Nicolai Georgiou in the Pirelli Star Driver competition, Al-Thafiri is enjoying a useful run of form and would like nothing better than to win the international rally on his home stages.

It will not be easy for the Kuwaiti, however; he faces a strong trio of experienced Qatari drivers. Abdullah Al-Kuwari lines up with Adel Abdullah Hussein in a similar car. Hussein arrives fresh from taking fifth place in the recent Ha’il Nissan International Rally in Saudi Arabia with Ahmed Al-Sabban and the pair is focused on the win.

Top seed Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah’s brother Khalifa drives a Subaru Impreza with Cypriot navigator Savvas Laos and Rashid Al-Naimi and Italian co-driver Nicola Arena round off the three-pronged Qatari line-up in the NR4 class.

Al-Thafiri will have plenty of support in Kuwait though. Rallying is as popular as ever in the Northern Gulf and Jassim Al-Muqahwi and Salem Abdullah will be hoping for a strong finish in a slightly older version of the trusty Mitsubishi Lancer. Al-Thafiri’s brother Mohammed also features among the local drivers alongside Saleh Ali, Elie Chachati and young Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah.

No driver has more experience than Lebanon’s Michel Saleh. Present in regional rallying even before the MERC began in 1984, Saleh returns to one of his favourite events with close friend and long time navigator Ahmed Ghaziri. He certainly has the determination to match the youngsters and will be hoping for car reliability if he is to make a sensational return to the top step of the NR4 class podium this week.

Other drivers are somewhat of unknown quantities in the region, with the exception of German lady driver Edith Weiss, who competes under a Qatar licence.

The NR4 entry list features Iranian drivers Hassan Akbarnejadbaei and Laleh Seddigh in a pair of Mitsubishis and the Turkish duo of Yigit Timur and Vedat Diker in later specification Mitsubishis.

Saudi Arabian Rakan Al-Rashed may be a name to watch in the future. He has been receiving support from Finland, the traditional former home of WRC rallying greats, and will be co-driven in Kuwait by Jarkko Kalliolepo. The Finn has considerable experience in European and WRC rallying with the likes of Jarkko Nikara, Jukka Hiltunen and Jussi Vällimäki. Kalliolepo retired from the recent Arctic Rally with suspension issues while sitting alongside Nikara.

Talented young Lebanese driver Rodolphe Asmar is also a star in the making and teams up with five-time Rally of Lebanon-winning navigator Joseph Matar in another Mitsubishi.

Competitors start their two-day reconnaissance of the special stages on Tuesday morning (tomorrow). It is a chance for each crew to make their own pace notes and find out the pitfalls and potential problem areas on each stage before the official start and the opening timed super special at the Sirbb circuit on Thursday, March 24.

The event is being held under the chairmanship of Sheikh Athbi Nayef Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in conjunction with the General Authority for Sport.

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8 hrs ago

F1

That Alex Albon is so cheeky 😂 ... See Less

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Omg! I love this duo so much! Never fail to make me laugh 😂

Actually I don't Like Alex' sense of humor :/ he is imo too arrogant

Is it just me or does anybody else wanna punch max in the fuckin face as hard as u could??

Why in the hell did Merc haven't done Grill the Grid?

If he think that one is bad i wonder what he think of the rookie of the year one ! 👀

Alex very honest! I like that

Congratulations

Did he say Sonny Moore at 0:28?

Congrats 😎

Nikko Par

Alex Albon 💙

Sarah Jones

Ricardo Ruiz

While you patiently waiting for your monthly salary, others are busy earning nothing less than $500- $10000 every 48hours, Ask me how????

Celine Maddie

Traduscalon a español

Rahul Kale Nuaman Wt

Max might be fast but his funny level is pretty low.

"It looks Romanian" hahaha good knowledge of flags Alex!

Who win this in 2018 please?

Being a Romanian, I’m surprise that Albon know the Romania 🇷🇴 flag ☺️. Wow.

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9 hrs ago

F1

Hang in there... fewer than 💯 days until the next race 😅 ... See Less

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Man weekends are so boring at the moment. Drive to survive needs to come out sooner than March to help this out

It was fun back in the days when we had the V8 .. It was a joy to watch the replays but now I can't stand watching any reply of this era even if it was a perfect move or something really special Please give us some noise .. I want my ears to hurt again 😅

And if Sebastian and Max have been good Saint Nic may bring them a fast car for 2020.

Odotetaan jannityksella odotus aika tuntuu pitkalta vai mita . ?? 🌲🌨🎅🎅Hyvaa joulua seka vuoden loppua . 🥂❤️❤️🍀🍀.

Super cross holds me over quite well until F1 starts back up.

It's gonna be a long winter.

It’s worse when you put it that way! 100 days...omg....nooooooooooooo!

90 days, 4 hours, 9 minutes and 30 sec to be precise...

Now that F1 has been over.

Waiting on the season to start

if V12 days yes we aka fans are eager for new seasons race but not now sadly..

With me in the competition.. Your gonna.. WIN.. 🏆❤💋

We are ready 💜😏

I know it’s not F1, but urge everyone to get on to the Bathurst 12 hour stream, starting October 21st. A real motor race with overtaking. It might get you through to the start of the next F1 season. www.bathurst12hour.com.au/news/2020-liqui-moly-bathurst-12-hour-date-confirmed/

Hang in there Tom, it’ll be back soon!!

Racing denotes some sort of competition is involved.

Can't wait!

It's not that long.

Waiting for this.. 👍🏻 👍🏻 👏🏻 🏁🏁🏎️🏎️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Non vediamo l'ora che comincia grand premio, speriamo che sia spettacolare come finale 2019...

100 days never seemed longer

Race ever day.

اعطونا رزنامت الموسم القادم

Can’t wait 😆

Can't wait.

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10 hrs ago

F1

🥁 And the winner is... (as voted by F1 fans) ... See Less

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Funny how fans were whingeing about the state of F1 in early 2019, saying it's boring and a procession...Soon as they said that, boom! We have a season on our hands. A season to enjoy, with some of the best overtakes I've ever seen, in my 34 full years of F1 watching! Wow!

I'm surprised that Leclercs move on Gasly at Silverstone isn't included in this list. I don't think I've ever seen an overtake around the outside of Village. Pretty impressive, as far as I am concerned.

Would you look at that F1, the FIAs "Action of the Year" nowhere to be seen as anyone with an ounce of credibility knows that was an overtake off the circuit.

Sainz at Brazil should’ve been #1

Seriously how Max got "Action of the year" with that move I'll never know.... Way more impressive moves this year than that!

Lec overtake impossible Ver overtake very difficult and very beautiful but possible ! For me Lec P1 Ver P2

The number 1 is one of the easiest move, it's number 1 just 'cause crytappen done it. In the same footage, 20 meters behind, there is a more gutsy move made by his team-mate Albon on the (most powerful on straights) Ferrari of Vettel. That shows once again that "voted by fan" means s**t. Most of them can't even understand the basis of motorsport.

I liked the double overtake of Verstappen on LeClerc and Hamilton in Brazil the most. Such confidence and determinatiom and Senna-esque going for the gap. That’s what makes Max brilliant

The overtake of Verstappen to Leclerc in Austria is not a good overtake, was an ilegal overtake!

Passing on the grass is always tricky. A bit too much throttle either on the grass or when regaining the track and you're not going to have a good day. Much as I'm not a fan of Leclerc, I do have to say where he passed in Monaco was tricky and took some skill. I think that Norris' double pass in COTA should've been in this top ten.

Everything that F1 does here is to find a way to sell Max as an phenomenon. It sucks .... no credibility at all.

Max's overtake on Hamilton is exactly like Montoya to Schumacher at the same place in a GP of Brazil..

Where is Hamilton on Vettel in Bahrain?? And Albon on Ricciardo at Spa!!?

An overtaking package without a single highlight from Ricciardo. Sums up Renault's season perfectly.

No.4 Bottas passed Hamilton on the next corner, where no one had passed before. It was great move!

P7 was not overtaking. It was forcing out of the track and causing a collison

And Sainz in Mónaco overtakes kvyat?

Number 4 Bottas repasted Hamilton into Cops corner that should be in the top 10, not often we have cars wheel too wheel into the corner it was fantastic racing from both drivers !!! 🤙

The best overtake for me is Leclerc on Gasly in Silverston

Sainz last lap overtake that secured the point för the 6th Palace in the Championship

6 years of Boring Parades.....F1 used to actually race before the Engineering Exercise.

That Max pass on Leclerc was anything but clean or graceful. Shoulda left a little more room outside.

To vote overtake moves check tyre wear and strategy cause a Williams can send one outside of Merc if tyres are worn differently......

how was sainz 3rd and not first? that was brave and crazily tight to overtake there....

Why Leclerc got 2 best overtake? I’ve never seen overtaking at that part of the track in this decade.

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11 hrs ago

MotoGP

Round 2 in Ausin provided drama that nobody expected! 😱

Take a look back at the first moments of the #AmericasGP! 🇺🇸

#MotoGP
... See Less

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MM side to side transitions down through the esses is so much quicker than everyone else! Also he brakes so much harder and later than anyone coming into 12 it’s unreal to watch in person!

That turn 1 is so amazing.

it was actually round 3....but who's counting....

First race I went to ❤️

Who wrote this a child sloppy

Austin not 'Ausin' 😂 Round 3 not 2 😂 I think MotoGP is drunk

Cant spell Austin

Where’s Ausin? Is that near Austin?

Vr 46 😍

who won..??

Round 3 in Austin

What drama? 🤷‍♂️

Where is Ausin?

Patrick Souza

Wasn't Austin* round 3?

that race..??

Bay Shapso

Marc Marquez ❤❤

Wow this track is up, the lining of the #GP is so amazing ,😎

Forza VR46 ❤

Fabien Audouard Polo Fabien

Tressia Nowlin 🏍️❤️❤️❤️‼️‼️‼️

Ausin

Que puesto quedo rossi?

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12 hrs ago

MotoGP

A first every Álex Rins/493142754078013">#MotoGP victory for Álex Rins! 🏆

His victory back at the #AmericasGP will go down in the history books! 👏
... See Less

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Rossi has perfected diving in too late and hot, then running way wide. You'd think he'd know better by now.

rossi should kick rins. so he can win this race. 🤐

Great👍

S U Z U K Ingggggg 💪💪💪👏👏👏🦾🦾

Young riders to win 😎

I was there😁

Boa. Parabéns

👌

🔥

😍😍😍😍

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18 hrs ago

MotoGP

Maiden winners at the Marc Márquez17">#AmericasGPMaverick Viñalesf="https://facebooÁlex Rins142754078013">#MotoGP ➡️ Marc Márquez 🏆
2014 #Moto2 ➡️ Maverick Viñales 🏆
2013 #Moto3 ➡️ Álex Rins 🏆
... See Less

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2013 AmericasGP marquez: new bike, new track, fast to adapt

Miss You Little Samurai #26DP 😑😑

Of course a choose Vin also...

Always.... Marc...

First is always special ❣️❣️❣️

Always Marc 💪🏻💪🏻🇳🇵🇳🇵

Miss you dani😭😭

Marc ❤

The first sign of the alien existed

MM.93❤👍✌✌

MM93 forewer

Keliatan beda kelas antara marc dgn alex and vina

Always boring rider and boring titles from marq marquez

Babang dani 😍

Marquez...

Hallo ich bin Martin 😀

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20 hrs ago

CircuitProDigital

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