WRC

Rally Catalunya: Abu Dhabi preview

YOUNG ARAB PAIR HEAD INTO EUROPEAN SHOOTOUT FOR WORLD RALLY PRIZE Sulayem calls for new generation of drivers to boost FIA Middle East Rally Championship Dubai, UAE 18th October, 2010: Two of the rising stars of Middle East rallying...

YOUNG ARAB PAIR HEAD INTO EUROPEAN SHOOTOUT FOR WORLD RALLY PRIZE

Sulayem calls for new generation of drivers to boost FIA Middle East Rally Championship

Dubai, UAE 18th October, 2010: Two of the rising stars of Middle East rallying will battle it out with talented young drivers from across the globe next weekend for the chance to compete on the FIA World Rally Championship stage.

Qatar's Khaled Al Suwaidi and Jordan's Sanad Shannak have been nominated to represent the region in the Pirelli Star Driver Global Qualifying Shootout taking place in Spain from

Oct 22-24.

Up to six of the 18 contestants from around the world, all under the age of 25, will win potentially career-making opportunities in the form of a fully-funded drive on selected rounds of next year's FIA World Rally Championship.

"This is a great opportunity for Khaled and Sanad to gain valuable experience and develop their driving skills," said FIA Vice President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

He now hopes more young Arab drivers will be attracted into rallying via the region's national championships and the FIA Middle East series, and earn the chance to compete on a world stage via the Pirelli Star Driver project.

"Motor sport in the region has branched out in many directions in recent years, and drivers have a lot of options open to them," said Sulayem. "But rallying has been here for four decades and we're looking to a new generation of young drivers from around the region to come into the sport and make the FIA Middle East Championship strong for years to come."

Al Suwaidi has already shown great promise in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and is placed sixth in this year's series with two rounds remaining in Cyprus and Dubai.

Shannak is a 19-year-old who has graduated this year from karting to rallying. He finished a credible seventh and won the junior title in his first event, the Royal Automobile Museum Rally. He wants to step up from the Jordan National Championship to tackle the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, and aims to contest Jordan World Rally Championship round next year.

Al Suwaidi and Shannak now head for a thorough three-day examination of their rally driving skills, mechanical knowledge and temperament at the Pirelli Star Driver Global Qualifying Shootout taking place on roads close to Salou, Spain, starting on Friday.

The 16 drivers arriving at the home of the RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada - Rally de España will drive one asphalt and one gravel stage in order for a panel of judges to assess their ability behind the wheel. They will also face the judges during a presentation when they will be asked about various aspects of the sport.

This year's Shoot-Out is the first of a truly global nature, with all of the drivers from the FIA's regions coming together to do battle in one exciting day of competition. Also making history is Molly Taylor, a 22-year-old Australian born driver who will become the first female to take part in a Pirelli Star Driver Shoot-Out.

Taylor, a regular in the British Rally Championship, was nominated by the Women & Motor Sport Commission, a group headed by four-time world rally winner Michèle Mouton.

The drivers selected for places in next year's FIA World Rally Championship will be announced on Sunday (24th October) at the RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada-Rally de España.

-source: adta

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Series WRC
Drivers Michèle Mouton