(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) Oman's young rally driver Abdullah al Rawahi seeks to take lessons of experience when the 21 year old will debut in the highly-competitive Cyprus Rally in Larnaca in Cyprus from June 15-17.
The Cyprus Rally 2018 is part of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) and also serves as one of the rounds of the European Rally Championship (ERC) and a local championships.
The 47th edition of the rally is expected to attract 65 crews from 19 countries, who will be competing on both gravel and asphalt stages.
A total of 50 teams will take part in the European Rally Championship while 15 will compete in local championship.
Abdullah Rawahi (right) with 2017 Cyprus Rally winner Nasser al Attiyah
On Friday, the ceremonial start will take place in the Finikoudes beachfront, while racing will take place on Saturday and Sunday. Nicosia, will play host to a redesigned Super Special Stage.
Last year, Qatar's Nasser al Attiyah won the rally in one of most difficult events in the European Rally Championship.
Speaking to Muscat Daily ahead of his departure on Tuesday, Rawahi said, 'I am excited as Cyprus Rally offers one of the toughest terrains. It would be a good learning experience for my debut and also help me get exposure to compete with some of the most experienced drivers. It is only my second rally ever after taking part in Jordan Rally in April.
'My rallying debut was not a memorable one as mechanical issues forced me and my co-driver, Zakariya al Aufi, to quit the race. However, the Jordan Rally made me understand lot of issues and I am much better-prepared for the Cyprus event.'
Rawahi will be joined in Cyprus Rally by a new co-driver, Allan Harryman. The 48 year old veteran campaigner from Great Britain has been part of the World Rally Championship and MERC over the years and has made a total of 192 starts.
Rawahi will be driving his Subaru Impreza Sti N14 along with Harryman, who in the past has also been the navigator for Oman's rally legend Hamed al Wahaibi in MERC and Oman rallies, starting from 2004.
'Allan [Harryman] has a wealth of experience as he has been a navigator since 1996. To have him with me in Cyprus is a big confidence boost for me. I am hopeful of taking lot of tips from him,' said Rawahi.
Rawahi, who made his mark in go-karting for the past ten years along with his elder brother, Sanad al Rawahi, has opted for rallying after trying out circuit and open wheel racing.
'I strongly believe that my future lies in rally racing and I would like to compete and gain experience for the next two years before hoping for podium results at international level. My ultimate aim is to compete in Desert classics,' said Rawahi, who finished his college exams on Monday before flying out.
Following the Cyprus Rally, Rawahi will compete in the Rally of Lebanon (July 6-8), Iran International Rally (September 5-7), Kuwait International Rally (November 1-3) and conclude his maiden MERC season in Qatar with the Qatar International Rally on November 15-17.
Rawahi thanked Shanfari Hotels and Resorts for backing his maiden rally campaign this season and hoped that the Cyprus experience will make him a better driver.
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