UK-based James Rumsey Motorsport (JRM), a base team for Subaru’s STI division, has announced that the Qatar Rally Team has ordered a number of its NR4 WRX STI rally cars to compete in the 2016 FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
The cars will be run by preparation firm Autotek, and will be backed by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) – the governing body of motorsport in the state of Qatar.
Khalifa Saleh Al-Attiyah, the younger brother of eleven-time Middle East rally champion, WRC2 champion and Dakar Rally winner Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah will drive one of the NR4-specification cars.
The second Qatar Rally Team machine will be piloted by 26-year-old Rashid Al-Naimi, a promising driver backed by QMMF and already a production class winner in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship. He will be co-driven by Italy’s Nicola Arena.
The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation has been a long-time supporter of the MERC production championship and has chosen to upgrade to the latest production rallying technology for the 2016 season by using JRM’s latest-specification Subaru WRX STI.
Ken Skidmore, team principal at the Qatar Rally Team, said: “The logical choice of car for our 2016 title assault in MERC was the 2016 Subaru WRX STI so we immediately spoke to JRM – an official STI Base Team that is giving its full support to the production category.
“We watched how the car performed at Wales Rally GB in the hands of David Higgins and the Subaru of America Rally Team (above) and we were very impressed. The car ran faultlessly throughout the rally and took an easy production class win – beating many supposedly superior cars.”
The seven-round FIA Middle East Rally Championships starts on 4-6 February with the Qatar International Rally.