Last weekend Sports Racing Technologies team participated in the first race of FIA Middle East Rally Championship 2021 "Qatar International Rally". Team provided two Škoda R5 cars and service to the Qatar Motor & Motocycle Federation (QMMF).
Arturs Priednieks (SRT Middle East project operations manager):
"Already 2nd year in a row QMMF have chosen the SRT team as the official supplier to their drivers. As last year this cooperation was paused, because rally was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year, the organizers found an opportunity to make this rally happen and SRT team provided Škoda R5 cars for two QMMF crews Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall and Khalid Al Suwaidi / Hugo Magalhaes. As we all know Kris Meeke is professional rally driver with several overall victories also in WRC championship races, but Khalid Al Suwaidi is one of leading rally drivers in Qatar."
"From the beginning of the competition it was clear that K.Meeke will fight for the leading positions with top driver of Qatar Nassir Allatya. On the second day both drivers fought on an equal footing, and the victories in the special stages were for both. Unfortunately on the last stage of second day K.Meeke made a mistake. The front of the car and the engine were damaged, as a result of which the team decided not to continue the race. This was not the easiest decision, because there was a real chance to fight with N.Allatya, he has won this race more than ten times and is an absolute favorite. Kris is ready to continue this fight next year and also SRT team is ready to provide service, because this year's cooperation was at its highest level."
"Other crew Khalid Al Suwaidi / Hugo Magalhaes, that participated with SRT team's car and service also took TOP 5 positions throughout the rally and despite several punctures, was able to finish in third place overall. This is very good result, because there was a two-year break in his rally career and before the rally, he did only a short test. But he quickly adopted the car and was able to fight for a remarkable result from the very beginning."
"I and all SRT team wants to say thanks to OMMF about successful cooperation, because it's a huge challenge to make the rally happen in these difficult circumstances, FIA requires to follow a lot of COVID-19 guidelines, but everything went very smooth. Also, I want to say thanks to team manager Marcis Kenavs who was able to organize everything in very short time and lead the it through the rally."
As the next within FIA Middle East Rally championship project, the SRT team plans to participate in Oman, but due to COVID-19 the competition is postponed to the end of the year.