MERC: Ford and Bin-Sulayem leads the championship

2002 FIA Middle East Rally Championship Ford Leads Mid East Rally Series With More Than Twice The Points of Nearest Rival after First Two Events Ben Sulayem In Personal Fitness Programme To Match Improved Performance of Ford Focus World Rally...

2002 FIA Middle East Rally Championship

Ford Leads Mid East Rally Series With More Than Twice The Points of Nearest Rival after First Two Events

Ben Sulayem In Personal Fitness Programme To Match Improved Performance of Ford Focus World Rally Car

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has revealed how an intensive new fitness regime has helped him match the improved performance of his Ford Focus World Rally Car and make a flying start in this year's FIA Middle East Championship.

Facing his toughest challenge for a number of years, Ben Sulayem has scored convincing victories in both of the first two rounds of this year's title race, and he says a combination of personal dedication and technical advancement has given him a decisive advantage.

"This is the most competitive championship for quite some time, and I've made a big effort to get into my best physical condition," said the Arab world's leading driver.

"The Ford Focus is getting better all the time, and I've been training hard to make sure I'm capable of raising my own performance levels this season.

The return of Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Bakhashab to the Middle East Championship at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla WRC, and the presence of a second Ford Focus WRC driven by Sharjah's Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, have turned the pressure on Ben Sulayem.

He has responded with successive wins in Qatar and Bahrain, and while Bakhashab was expected to be his closest challenger this season, it is Al Qassimi (Ford Focus WRC) who currently holds second place in the championship, giving Ford an even stronger grip on the Middle East manufacturers' title.

Ben Sulayem, delighted with the power boost provided by the new version of the Ford Focus WRC he is driving this year, says the car's continued advancement provides a competitive edge which he aims to make the most of as he chases his 14th Middle East drivers' title, and a sixth manufacturers' crown for Ford.

"I've been doing more jogging, and working in the gym, and I've also been following a strict diet," said Ben Sulayem, who is partnered by British co-driver, John Spiller, and sponsored by Red Bull.

"At the same time, we've been looking very closely at the team's preparations for each rally, and have made a number of small refinements here and there to improve our overall performance. Also, we made some modifications to the car for Bahrain, and we're going to do the same for the next round."

Ben Sulayem will be bidding to maintain his 100 per cent winning record in this year's Middle East Rally Championship when he takes his Ford Focus WRC back into action in the third round of the regional series, the Jordan International Rally, on May 17-18.

-duby miller-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other rally