uae rally legend mohammed ben sulayem set to drive course opening car in kuwait rally
The UAE's Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the Arab world's most successful rally star, will drive the official course opening car in the 2008 Kuwait International Rally, an official FIA sanctioned candidate event for the 2009 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, between February 28th and March 1st.
Sulayem has not driven competitively since winning the 2002 Dubai International rally after dominating the sport in the Middle East for 17 years. In that time he secured an unprecedented 14 FIA Middle East Rally Championship titles (1986-1991, 1994 and 1996-2002), scoring 61 individual international rally wins in the process, including 15 in Dubai, 12 in Jordan, nine in Qatar and six in Oman. His record is unlikely ever to be beaten in the highly-competitive modern discipline of Group N rallying. He secured his first regional title in 1986 and his last in 2002.
Born in November 1961, the UAE driver is now the highly-active President of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE, the official representative in the Emirates of the FIA and the FIM. He is also the chairman of the organising committee for the UAE Desert Challenge, the final round of the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup and the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship.
Sulayem is no stranger to rallying in Kuwait and was a leading contender for outright success back in the 1980s. He won the rally outright in 1985 and repeated the feat against arch Qatari rival Saeed Al Hajri in 1988 and 1989. When the rally was reinstated into the regional calendar after the first Gulf War, Ben Sulayem returned to winning ways to confirm his fourth Kuwait Rally title in 1996.
"Going back to Kuwait will bring back so many good memories for me, especially from the early part of my career," said Sulayem. "Kuwait helped establish international rallying in this region and I would love to see it return to the Middle East Championship."
The 2008 Kuwait International Rally is being organised by the Kuwait Motor Sports Club (KMSC) and will run under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait.
“We are delighted to welcome Mohammed Ben Sulayem back to Kuwait to run as course car in our new candidate event,” said Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dawood Al-Sabah, president of the Kuwait Motor Sports Club. “He has been an ambassador for rallying in the Middle East for many years and his rally successes across the region speak for themselves.”
Kuwait’s return to the international calendar will be based at the Kuwait Shooting Club and competitive action gets underway with a timed super special stage at the Jaber Al Ahmad International Circuit on Thursday, February 28th.
For further information, please contact the Kuwait Motor Sport Club, PO Box 29, Salmiya, 22001 Kuwait, Tel: + (965) 535 5511/22, Fax: + (965) 535 5566, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, www.q8racing.com
Caption: Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the Arab’s world’s most successful driver, will drive the course opening car in Kuwait at the end of the month.