The 2013 Qatar International Rally will use new stages, a brand new service park and a revised route, when the FIA Middle East Rally Championship gets underway on Thursday 24 January.

Rally headquarters and operations will continue to be based at The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) building on Salwa Road (near The Centre mall), but the event will now use a brand new service area at the Aqua Park (Abu Nakhla, also on Salwa Road).

Clerk of the course Elie Semaan said about this year’s changes:

This year we have three completely new stages with undulating, twisty and challenging terrain. The other three stages feature changes. Two have been modified up to 70% of their total distance and the approximate total length of the stages is 260km. The whole rally is concentrated off the Salwa Road to the north of Doha.’

The 2013 Qatar International Rally will see the introduction of separate championships for Group N cars, young drivers, two-wheel drive vehicles and a new T3 category for two- and four-wheel drive buggies. Drivers born after 1 November 1987 will race in the young driver series.

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah, Olympic bronze medallist and winner of this event an amazing nine times in the last ten years, and co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini will be racing in an M-Sport Qatar Team car. Young Qatari rally driver Khalid Al Suwaidi will be teaming up with the experienced Italian navigator Nicola Arena in a Ford Fiesta RRC.

Itinerary for the 2013 Qatar International Rally:

Day 1 – 6 Stages, total distance 377.98 km

Day 2 – 6 Stages, total distance 194.83 km

Action gets underway from the QMMF building at 8 am on Friday 25 and finishes at 4 pm on Saturday 26.

For further information, visit the QMMF website