MERC A FULL 2014
QMMF QATAR INTERNATIONAL RALLY TO FEATURE NEW START AND SUPER SPECIAL STAGE ON DOHA CORNICHE
2014 QMMF Qatar International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1
February 4nd, 2014
·Rally runs in tandem with FIA Women in Motorsport Commission
·Qatari Marwan Musabah appointed clerk of the course for first time
·Entries close for Qatar’s opening round of MERC on Thursday
DOHA (Qatar): The QMMF Qatar International Rally, round one of the 2014 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, will feature a ceremonial start and a super special stage on Doha Corniche, when it kick-starts the region’s new season of international rallying action on Thursday, February 20th.
Held in conjunction with a conference by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, the three-day event is being organised by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), under the presidency of Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, FIA vice-president for sport in the Middle East region.
“To promote rallying better we need to bring the action to the general public and, by arranging the ceremonial start and a super special on the Corniche in Doha, we are doing just that,” enthused Al-Attiyah, who has also appointed a Qatari national -Marwan Musabah – as clerk of the course for the first time.
The meat of the off-road action will take place on Friday, February 21st and Saturday, February 22nd in the Qatar desert.
Action starts at 09.53hrs on Friday morning with the first of two runs through the Umm Wishah stage and this is followed by timed tests at Al-Shabana and Al-Karsaah before teams head to the Qatar Aqua Park on the Salwa Road for the main midday service. The three special stages are repeated in the afternoon before a return to a late afternoon service at the Aqua Park.
Saturday’s action begins with a run through the 20.9km Mekhaines stage at 09.38hrs and this precedes the Salwa special and the first of two runs through the longest stage of the rally – a 27.87km desert challenge sponsored by the QMMF. Another service precedes a repeat of the three timed tests on Saturday afternoon, prior to the ceremonial finish in front of the QMMF in Doha from 15.50hrs.
Rally director Elie Semaan has also introduced two remote refuelling areas between stages. “Five of the special stages are similar to 2013 with minor changes,” said Semaan. “One stage is totally new and we have eliminated areas with rocks which caused cars to sustain flat tyres. The area is scenic, undulating and there are many twisty curves and challenging corners.”
Documentation and scrutineering of the cars will take place at the QMMF in Doha before the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission meeting takes place on Wednesday, February 19th. This precedes a second conference with the MERC’s women’s representative on the morning of Thursday, February 20th.
The QMMF is offering a generous assistance package to international entrants. Teams will be offered five nights’ free accommodation for driver and co-driver (room and breakfast only) at the Century Hotel in Doha. Entries close on Thursday (February 6th)
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