Rally officials have announced that the Kuwait International Rally will return as the fourth round of the 2018 FIA Middle East Rally Championship on November 1-3.
Kuwait’s flagship motor sporting event did not take place in 2017 but the country’s welcomed return to the FIA calendar will be marked by the first time that the new Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit facility has ever hosted an FIA event.
The rally will be organized by the Basil Salem Al-Sabah Motor Racing Club (BMRC) under the chairmanship of Sheikh Athbi Nayef Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and in conjunction with the General Authority for Sport and the Kuwait International Automobile Club (KIAC).
The experienced Meshari Al-Sabti has been appointed as Clerk of the Course for an event that will be run over three days and 13 special stages, 12 of which will take place on desert terrain on November 2-3. The competitive action will get underway with a timed super special at 16.00hrs on Thursday, November 1 after the ceremonial start at Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit.
Al-Sabti said: “I am delighted to be Clerk of the Course for Kuwait’s return to the regional rally championship. I was Rally Director and Clerk of the Course in 2013 and 2014 and it is great to be back in 2018. I am confident that we can lay on an exciting and challenging rally for our competitors.”
Qatar’s defending regional champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah has the record for the most number of victories in the Kuwait International Rally. The event became a round of the MERC in 1984, although regional unrest and two Gulf Wars meant it did not run between 1990-1994 and 1997-2007.
Al-Attiyah achieved his sixth success in 2016, having eclipsed the four victories earned by Mohammed Ben Sulayem (1985, 1988, 1989 and 1996) in 2015. The event was an ever-present in the regional calendar since returning as a candidate rally in 2008 but did not happen in 2017.
That 2008 candidate event was won by Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi, while Al-Attiyah notched up his six wins in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. There were solitary successes for Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al-Qassimi in 2010 and Qatar’s Khalid Al-Suwaidi in 2012. The most successful co-drivers are Ronan Morgan and Giovanni Bernacchini with four wins apiece.
Entries are open and the closing date has been set for Saturday, October 13.