Mishari Al-Sabti pictured at an earlier rally.
Round 4 of Kuwait Rally Championship set for Feb 22-23 Clash seen with regional events

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 22: Round four of the Kuwait Rally Championship 2013 has been rescheduled for Feb 22-23, 2013, according to officials of Kuwait Quarter Mile Automobile & Motorcycle Club, organizers of the event.

Speaking to Arab Times, Mishari Al-Sabti, a founding official of the Quarter Mile Club as well as Clerk of Course for the rallies, said the change in date for the rally has been necessitated by the inclusion of some of the drivers on the list of participants of some of the rallies slated to be held in the GCC region around the same period, almost coinciding with the earlier Kuwait Rally schedule.

“You know we cannot ignore the interest of our drivers as they’re going out there to participate under the Kuwaiti flag, whatever glories they bring will be in the name of Kuwait and the Quarter Mile Club as well”, said Al-Sabti, a retired rally driver who in 2000 won the Kuwait Rally Championship as co-driver to Ali Al-Mulla. Other regional events slated for 2013 include the Jordan Rally May 9-11, Lebanon Rally Sept 6-8, Cyprus Rally Nov 1-3 and Dubai Rally Nov 28-30.

Under the revised schedule there will be a 6-day window for the listing of prospective participants and media accreditation from Saturday to Thursday, Feb 9-14, 2013. That’ll be followed by registration for time cards, fitting of Global Positioning System (GPS) units on the cars, issuing of road books as well as administrative and final documentation on Feb 20.

Reconnaissance of the rally tracks takes place on Feb 21, with scrutineering to secure the circuit prior to the rally, media safety briefing and badge distribution slated for Feb 22. The official start of the rally will be at 9.30 am, Saturday, Feb 23.

Al-Sabti stated that Mishal Al-Thafeeri is among a number of Kuwaiti rally drivers listed to participate in the 2-day Qatar rally which is scheduled for Jan 24-26, 2013 and with the earlier Kuwait Rally which was planned for mid-January, the drivers would have had to contend with maintenance issues on their cars, putting their participation in the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation organized event in jeopardy.

There are 21 teams of the finest drivers and co-drivers from across the Middle East and Europe lined up for the upcoming first round 12-stage Qatar rally. The 260 km rally comes with three completely new stages added with undulating, twisty and challenging terrain.

Al-Sabti who in 2002 turned a rally driver and went on to clinch the second spot overall in a Kuwait Championship rally after topping group A, further added that it’s a pity that Mishal Al-Nejadi, one of Kuwait’s finest drivers who was cruelly robbed of a podium finish in the last Kuwait rally by an accident he had in the tracks, is missing the Qatar rally due to the effects of that accident which saw his car sustain some serious damage. Al-Najadi so far leads all drivers in the Kuwait championship with 48 points after three rounds.

The former Kuwait rally driver whose career got cut short by a backbone injury he sustained from a 2008 Dubai Rally championship accident, said the formation of the Kuwait Quarter Mile Automobile & Motorcycle Club which was to serve as a magnet to attract rally driving talent for Kuwait’s youth, was a dream come true for him, especially with Sheikh Athbi Nayef Al-Sabah at the helm as Rally Committee chairman.

Sheikh Athbi, according to Al-Sabti is the spiritual father of the Kuwait rally as he always strives to ensure the mission of the Quarter Mile Club in attracting as many of Kuwait’s youthful drivers to its ranks as possible to lure them away from racing on the roads as well as using them in competitions to showcase Kuwait firmly on the world map.

By: Iddris Seidu Arab Times Staff

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