MERC: Yalla brings Ford Focus Lebanon Rally onto Internet

Leading Internet Portal Tracks Ben Sulayem As He Chases Second Anniversary Win For Ford Focus WRC In Lebanon Motor sport enthusiasts visiting one of the Middle East's leading Internet portals will be able to track Mohammed Ben Sulayem's bid to ...

Leading Internet Portal Tracks Ben Sulayem As He Chases Second Anniversary Win For Ford Focus WRC In Lebanon Motor sport enthusiasts visiting one of the Middle East's leading Internet portals will be able to track Mohammed Ben Sulayem's bid to produce a second anniversary win for the Ford Focus World Rally Car (WRC) in Lebanon.

Ben Sulayem took the Ford Focus WRC to victory in the 1999 Rally of Lebanon on its first competitive appearance outside the World Rally Championship.

As he now looks for a repeat performance in the 2001 version of the event, from June 29 -- July 1, www.yalla.com.lb has built a range of website features around the Ford MERC Team's star, and the Ford Focus WRC.

From Saturday (June 16), visitors to Yalla! will enjoy a colourful, lively and detailed analysis of Ben Sulayem's career and the Ford MERC Team's background, in addition to the qualities of the pace-setting Ford Focus rally and road cars, and a look at Ford's 100th Anniversary in racing.

Avid rally racing fans around the world also can subscribe to the free SMS updates that will be sent to their GSM cellular phones. All they need to do is to subscribe to the service and they will be updated during the two-day event.

Yalla! will be looking in detail at Ben Sulayem's remarkable winning record, and his 14-year partnership with Irish co-driver Ronan Morgan, through articles, superb photography, and a multimedia section including video action.

The Ford Middle East Rally Championship Team profile will also carry Rally of Lebanon route information and special stage details, as well as regularly updated results during the three-day event, while Yalla! members will have daily chances to win Ford Racing T-shirts and caps.

A special section will look at how the success of the Ford Focus WRC -- currently leading the World Rally Championship -- has been matched by the success of the Ford Focus road car, the first vehicle ever to receive both the North American Car of the Year and the European Car of the Year awards.

The Ford Focus road car was successfully introduced by Boustany Dahdah Automobiles S.A.L. the Ford dealer in Lebanon, shortly after Ben Sulayem's impressive Middle East debut win at the wheel of the Ford Focus WRC in the 1999 Rally of Lebanon.

Since then, the road car has gone on to capture a succession of awards, while Ford's Middle East dominance has been underlined by Ben Sulayem who is on course this year for another double of manufacturers' and drivers' titles in the FIA regional championship.

SAIF-ZONE GIVES SHEIKH ABDULLAH OVERSEAS DRIVE

New sponsors hands Middle East Group N champion chance to take rally programme outside home region for first time

Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, on course for a double rally title success on home territory this year, is setting his sights on an overseas campaign, and a possible World Championship debut.

Boosted by the backing of Sharjah International Airport Free Zone, the reigning Middle East Group N champion is planning to extend his rally programme outside the region for the first time to tackle events in some of his new sponsor's key overseas markets.

"There's a possibility that I might be able to fit in one overseas event later this year, and if not, I'll definitely be looking to compete outside the Middle East next year," the four-times UAE national champion told a press conference at SAIF-Zone today.

"I'm very grateful to SAIF-Zone for their support, and I'm determined to repay them for the confidence they have placed in me, and that means designing a rally programme to include events in overseas countries where SAIF-Zone is looking to attract investors."

Added Sheikh Abdullah: "My team will be doing everything we can to increase awareness of SAIF-Zone, and at the same time, I'll be looking to gain more rallying experience by taking part in top international events overseas, possibly in the World Championship."

With his brand new Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6 now decorated in the SAIF-Zone livery, Sheikh Abdullah has a commanding lead in this year's race for the Middle East Championship Group N title, which he won last year, and in 1998.

He also leads the UAE championship after driving his SAIF-Zone Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5 - now upgraded to Group A -- to victory in last weekend's fifth round of the national series

-duby miller

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About this article
Series Automotive , Other rally
Drivers Ronan Morgan