QATAR INTERNATIONAL RALLY to launch 2021 MERC in January
2021 Qatar International Rally FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 1
· Ceremonial start and super special to be staged at Katara
DOHA (Qatar): The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) will host the opening round of the 2021 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) again on January 28-30, 2021.
After a 2020 season that was decimated by the global Covid-19 situation, which saw rounds of the regional rally series in Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon all cancelled, officials in Doha are delighted to announce that the Qatar International Rally will run again for the first time since March 2019.
A stalwart in the MERC since the series developed from the Gulf Rally Championship in 1984, the Qatar event has been one of the most popular and demanding rounds of the series with its challenging desert terrain and rigorous special stages.
The 2021 event will be based at the Lusail Sports Arena and features a sealed surface super special and two subsequent legs of four and six further gravel stages in the Qatar deserts. There will be 208.78 competitive kilometres in a route of 608.17km, pending forthcoming route checks.
This year’s rally will be held under the chairmanship of QMMF President Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, senior committee member Abdulrazaq Al-Kuwari and the QMMF’s new Executive Director Amro Al-Hamad. Portugal’s Pedro Almeida will work as the Clerk of the Course alongside his deputy, Rashed Al-Sulaiti.
“It’s been a hard year with all the cancellations of motor sport events around the globe,” said QMMF Executive Director Amro Al-Hamad. “We are coping in this new normal perfectly and taking one challenge at a time. We managed to seal our National Baja and Sprint Championship and learnt a lot organising such events at times like these we are going through. At the QMMF, we are confident of delivering a successful 2021 Qatar International Rally.”
Regulations are now available (subject to FIA approval) and entries close at reduced rates on December 31 with the final date for applications set for January 13.