KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait): The Basil Salem Al-Sabah Motor Racing Club (BMRC) has published the challenging route for the Kuwait International Rally, round two of the 2016 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), taking place on March 24-26.
Held under the chairmanship of Sheikh Athbi Nayef Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and in conjunction with the Kuwait International Automobile Club (KIAC), race officials have laid on a three-day timetable that incorporates 13 timed special stages.
The event is the 197th in the history of the MERC, which was established in 1984. The country also hosted the 150th counting round in 2009 and that was won by Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Italian navigator Giovanni Bernacchini in a Subaru Impreza N14.
Race officials have arranged generous incentives for competitors this year. In addition to a free entry, crews will be given six nights’ free accommodation in a double room at the Safir Hotel and Residence in Fintas and up to USD $500 in assistance towards shipping costs.
After permitted reconnaissance of the special stages by teams on Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23, the competitive action gets underway on Thursday, March 24 after the ceremonial start at the Sirbb circuit. The podium is scheduled for 16.30hrs and precedes a 1.80km timed test, planned for 18.00hrs.
The meat of the action takes place over the next two days in the deserts to the south of Kuwait City and is split into two legs comprising six gravel stages.
Action resumes on Friday, March 25 with the first of the desert tests at Nuwaiseeb. The 13.86km opener is short by championship standards, but will provide teams with an excellent warm-up for the subsequent two stages at Kheiran and Al-Zour. They run for 22.59km and 23.76km respectively and are followed by the traditional regrouping and service stop at the service park, near the Sea Shell Julai’a Hotel and Resort.
The three specials are repeated in the afternoon and precede another servicing opportunity for crews at the end of the leg.
Saturday, March 26 features the remaining six gravel specials. Bneider 1 gets the action underway from 10.00hrs and is followed by the 15.40km of the Arifjan stage and 12.83km in Julai’a. The leg is again split by service and regrouping at the Sea Shell Julai’a Hotel and Resort and the three stages are repeated in the afternoon.
The finish podium is scheduled for 17.30hrs and will be located outside the Safir Hotel and Residences in Fintas, the home for many of the competitors and race officials during the rally.
The entry list for Kuwait’s premier motor sport event closes on Tuesday, March 8th and the final list will be published the following day.