August 30, 2016 – Motortune Racing has a highly impressive line-up of 11 cars for the 39th running of Rally of Lebanon, with 4 of its cars competing in the popular Group N category.
Rodolphe Asmar, a chief contender in the category, is targeting as many points as possible for the Middle East Rally Championship. However, his Group N team-mates Michel Slaiby, Raafat Al Mohtar and Nadim Halabi have a different goal for the event.
Michel, who thanked One Stop Dubai and EMS for their backing, is in his first year in the Lebanese Rally Championship and he’s managed to impress by finishing 5th in Group N in Spring Rally. He will drive a Mitsubishi Evo IX alongside co-driver Rony Maroun in Rally of Lebanon.
“I’m very happy with the season so far. We completed the first two rallies and we missed the Cedars Rally. Our full focus is now on Rally of Lebanon and our target is to gain more experience and finish the event in order to better prepare for the upcoming season, which I plan to contest in a new car – most likely an Evo X.” said Michel.
Raafat Al Mohtar, who hasn’t driven a race car in 5 years, has also managed to impress by finishing 4th in Group N in Cedars Rally, following two retirements in the first two rounds. His weapon for Rally of Lebanon is an Evo IX, which he will drive alongside Carlos Hanna.
“It was a season of ups and downs but we learned a lot and we’re now ready for the most important event, Rally of Lebanon. There are a lot of better cars ahead of us, but I would love to finish in the top 10. However, our main priority is to reach the finish line and gain mileage as part of our preparation for next year. The plan for next season is still unknown, we’re either sticking with Group N or upgrading to an R5, depending on our progress” explained Raafat.
He added: “I would like to thank Advanced Car Rental, Nutrition & Health, Aramoun Baldati Group and my co-driver Carlos Hanna for their support throughout the season”.
Nadim Halabi missed the opening round of the season, appeared in a Citroen DS3 R3 and finished 5th in RC3, but retired from the Cedars Rally in a Mitsubishi Evo VIII. In his fourth Rally of Lebanon participation, Nadim will keep the Mitsubishi Evo VIII and will have Amine Akel next to him in the car.
“This season has been a test for me. I missed the opening round and I didn’t know what car to drive, eventually picking the DS3 R3 and then switching to an Evo VIII. We were supposed to drive an Evo IX, but the car isn’t ready yet. Rally of Lebanon will be all about racking up more mileage for the upcoming season, so my number 1 target is to reach the finish line.” elaborated Nadim.
He added: “My plan is to switch to the Evo IX next season, and that would not be possible without the support of my sponsor Advanced Car Rental, in addition to Tarek Younes and Raafat Al Mohtar.”
Michel, Raafat and Nadim also had a common person to thank, Roger Feghali, who has been helping them develop and progress through Motortune Racing.