Abu Dhabi Racing driver Mohammed Al Sahlawi won first place in the Dubai International Rally, the final round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, in the 2WD class in his Citroën DS3 R3. Al Sahlawi came in front of teammate Mohamed Al Mutawaa who was crowned Middle East Rally champion in 2WD class. Saeed Bintouq finished third in the class ahead of Mansoor Belhelei who put in a brilliant performance at the Dubai International Rally, ending an excellent debut MERC season for both drivers.
Mohamed Al Mutawaa, was leading the Dubai International Rally with his co-driver Stephen MacAulay until he had an accident on SS9, as a result Al Sahlawi and his co-driver Craig Parry took first place by a margin of 49.2 seconds by the end of the rally. Mansoor Belhelei with co-driver Khalid Al Kendi succeeded in winning the first stage and then achieving the third fastest time on the rest of the stages in front of Bintouq and co-driver Alan Harryman.
Al Sahlawi said: “It was exciting to return to the Dubai International Rally, it is my home country’s rally and means a lot to me to be able to compete here. The competition was very tough, Belhelei surprised us with his speed and performance in the first few stages and unfortunately we had a puncture while trying to keep pace with Al Mutawaa, but thankfully it came good in the end. I am absolutely delighted with this win and the second place overall in the championship. I would like to thank Abu Dhabi Racing and Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi for all their support and guidance. I would especially like to congratulate Sheikh Khalid on his fantastic achievement of winning the Middle East Rally Championship title.”
Dubai International Rally – 2WD class
1. Mohammed Al Sahlawi / Craig Parry (Citroën DS3 R3) 2: 20.24.8 hour
2. Mohammed Al Mutawaa / Stephen McAulay (Citroën DS3 R3) 2: 21.14.0 hour
3. Saeed Bintouq / Alan Harryman (Citroën DS3 R3) 2: 24: 06.4 hour
4. Mansoor Belhelei / Khalid Al Kendi (Citroën DS3 R3) 2: 35: 02.2 hour
Middle East championship – junior class standings:
1. Mohamed Al Mutawaa, 93 points
2. Mohammed Al Sahlawi 71 points
3. Mansoor Belhelei 54
4. Saeed Bintouq 45 points