MERC: Qatar Rally Team Syria Rally summary

Al-Marri claims sixth in Syria. 6th overall and 3rd in Group N was just reward for Misfer Al-Marri/Adel Hussein, as they turned in an excellent performance to lead home the Qatar Rally Team's Group N drivers on the Syria International ...

Al-Marri claims sixth in Syria.

6th overall and 3rd in Group N was just reward for Misfer Al-Marri/Adel Hussein, as they turned in an excellent performance to lead home the Qatar Rally Team's Group N drivers on the Syria International Rally. Al-Marri recorded his second 6th overall and third Group N finish in the Group N series in consecutive rallies. As a result, the 23 year old now moves into equal third in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship Group N points standings.

The Damascus based event would prove to be a difficult rally for the Qatari drivers, whose efforts in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship are supported by the Qatar National Bank. Four of the regular Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI drivers took the start at the Cham Palace Hotel in the Syrian capital on Friday September 12th, but two of the leading drivers were destined not to reach the finish of the first leg.

Khalifa Al Attiyah had started the event steadily, but dust inside the car on the blisteringly fast desert stages was making life extremely difficult for the 29 year old. Unfortunately, a broken steering rack towards the end of the leg forced Khalifa into retiring for the second consecutive rally, after mechanical failures stopped him in Jordan.

Lead driver Hamad Al-Sowaidi was another driver not to reach the end. The Doha man suffered a time consuming puncture on one of the longer stages of the first day, losing several minutes in the process. Hamad was to find that a puncture was the least of his worries, when the ECU on the engine management system failed at service, and the Mitsubishi was left completely lifeless. Hamad was disappointed:

"Yes, its disappointing to have to retire in this way, but the puncture had already cost us a great deal of time. For sure it was frustrating, as we would have liked to have scored more championship points on this rally. Its unfortunate, but there is nothing that we can do in the circumstances. We must hope for better luck and a good performance in Cyprus."

It was not all bad news for the Qatar Rally Team. Abdulaziz and Nasser Al Kuwari brought their Lancer home in a fine ninth position overall, but their event was not without drama:

"We survived a huge jump on day one and that could have wrecked the car", said the 23 year old. "The stages were nice, but it was a very fast rally - I was doing 210 km/h at times on some of the long straights!"

The youngest member of the Qatar Rally Team was delighted to have reached the finish of the rally, especially after the disappointment of exceeding the time limit in service on the Jordan International Rally.

Next on the list for the Qatar Rally Team is the Troodos Rally in Cyprus. Using stages in the Troodos Mountains, the rally begins on October 31st. The stages used on the rally are perhaps better known for their inclusion within the World Rally Championship on the Cyprus Rally. The tight, twisting and rock strewn roads will certainly be a very tough challenge for the showroom specification cars.

<pre> Final Top Ten Result - Syria International Rally. 1 Andreas TSOULOFTAS/Sawas LAOS Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 1.50.03.0 2 Khaled AL-QASSIMI/Khaled AL-KANDI Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 1.51.27.0 3 Nasser AL-ATTIYAH/Steve LANCASTER Subaru Impreza WRC 1.51.31.0 4 Abdullah AL-QASSIMI/Khaled ZAKARIA Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 1.52.27.0 5 Ahmad HAMSHO/Allan HARRYMAN Subaru Impreza WRC 1.55.59.0 6 Misfer AL-MARRI/Adel HUSSEIN Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.00.05.0 7 Mohammed HAMSHO/Terry HARRYMAN Subaru Impreza WRC 2.02.07.0 8 Mohammad AL-SARRAF/Waleed AL-SARRAF Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.04.42.0 9 Abdulaziz AL-KUWARI/Nasser AL-KUWARI Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.05.46.0 10 Miras HOMSI/Ata AL-HAMOUD Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 2.06.35.0

FIA Middle East Group N positions after round 4 of 6 1. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE) 28 2. Sheikh Khaled Al-Qassimi (UAE) 16 3. Hamad Al-Sowaidi (QA) 12 =. Misfer Al-Marri (QA) 12

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