MERC: Series mid-season report

The Middle-East Rally Championship - half season report The calendar of the 2001 season included nine rallies - from Uae, Qatar, Baharen, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Dubai and two rounds in Cyprus. The "TOUR of CYPRUS" has been canceled already. As...

The Middle-East Rally Championship - half season report

The calendar of the 2001 season included nine rallies - from Uae, Qatar, Baharen, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Dubai and two rounds in Cyprus. The "TOUR of CYPRUS" has been canceled already. As in the last couple of years we saw a dominance of the Ford team, with the 12 time middle-east champion, Muhamed Bin-Sulayem, winning the first four rallies in a row.

His main rival is the Cyprus driver, Andreas Tseloftas, who took part in the championship with some nice results but missed the Jordan and Lebanon rallies.

After the first round, Bin-Sulayem's co-driver, Ronan Morgan, decided to retire from his role and Haled Zachria from Jordan took his seat near Bin-Sulayem in the Focus.

Morgan only appeared one more time in the Lebanon rally, which ended with flames, when the Ford Focus burned and the crew were sent to hospital with burns. A sad end to Morgan's career.

So the only rally that we didn't see a Ford win came in the 5th round of the championship, Lebanon - the best rally in the championship, when guest driver, Italian Pierro Liatti won the rally in a Subaru Impreza WRC.

In group-N, it was also clear from the start of the season, Abdallah Al-Qasimi won the first three rounds of the championship with his new Mitsubishi Lancer EVO-6, taking 2nd to Al-Sowaidi in Jordan only meant that the championship will be decided in Lebanon were Al-Qasimi took the crown.

Good appearance in the championship was Mubaraq Al-Hajiry, new as a driver in a Ron Cremen prepared Mitsubishi Lancer. Al-Hairy got some good results and sure will be a name to reckon with in the future.

In the 1600 class, Cyprus driver Nearcous in a Proton took the lead of the championship with two wins, 2000 champion Shambi and Czech driver Hartl with a Skoda taking one win each .

The championship is going now for a break till September, when the Syria International rally will take place.

Some issues that came through the first half of the year in the championship was the problems with the Jordan rally that was solved by Malcolm Neil, as a clerk of the course in this rally and the trying of the Lebanon rally to get a WRC status for the coming years. The big question is - who will stop Bin-Sulayem from taking another title?

-duby miller

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Series Other rally
Drivers Ronan Morgan