Ben Sulayem Chases Goal of Championship Double For Ford
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, already Middle East drivers’ champion for 2001, will push to gain a significant double for Ford in next month’s Dubai International Rally.
The Arab world’s top driver, who claimed his 13th Middle East drivers’ crown with a fifth victory of the season in Syria last month, now aims to wrap up the manufacturers’ championship at the wheel of his Ford Focus World Rally Car in Dubai.
The extra incentive for Ben Sulayem is that he could produce a perfect end to the season for Ford, who are also on course for both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles in the World Championship.
Ford will start the penultimate round of the 14-event World Rally Championship series in Australia on November 1-4 with a seven-point advantage, while Colin McRae shares the lead in the race for the world drivers’ title with Tommi Makinen.
And while Ben Sulayem knows he will need only a top-three finish in the Dubai International Rally on November 14-15 to give Ford the Middle East manufacturers’ title for a fifth time, he wants nothing less than a 14th victory in his home event.
“This is a very significant year for Ford because it marks the 100th anniversary of their debut in motor sport, and so the manufacturers’ championship is all important,” he said.
“That’s been my aim since the season began, and a win in Dubai would be the best way to finish off the year, especially if Ford wins the World Championship.”
Cypriot Andreas Peratikos ensured that the battle for the Middle East manufacturers’ title will be decided in Dubai by winning last weekend’s penultimate round, the Troodos Rally, to take Mitsubishi to within seven points of Ford.
While a succession of Mitsubishis will be in action in the Dubai International Rally, Ben Sulayem, partnered by Jordanian co-driver Khaled Zakaria, plans another dominant display at the wheel of his Ford Focus WRC to underline’s Ford’s Middle East supremacy.
Source: Press release Issued on behalf of Ford Middle East & North Africa, by Total Communications, Dubai, UAE, Tony Lewis.