Though his closest challenger for the title is more familiar with the Egyptian event, Dubai's Khalifa Al Mutaiwei is aiming to clinch the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies at Cairo.
Khalifa Al Mutaiwei aims for Cross Country Rallies title at Cairo
Dubai's Khalifa Al Mutaiwei and his German co-driver Andreas Schulz could clinch the 2012 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies title when they tackle the six-day Pharaohs International Cross Country Rally next week.
The event across the Egyptian deserts counts for double points and Al Mutaiwei - who drives for Fazza Rally Team - heads to Cairo for the penultimate race of the season with a slender eight-point advantage over the Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser in the drivers' championship.
Sixty points will be available to for the winner of the event, with 42 for second place and 32 for third.
"This event is worth a championship," acknowledged the Emirati.
"It is the last event before the final Baja round in Portugal in November, but it is a cross country event and not a Baja and, therefore, it is worth double points.
"It will be the first time for me to compete in Egypt. I have never gone through this event in the past, but I am mindful that Jean-Louis Schlesser has a vast experience of rallies in Egypt and he has won here many times ... I have the experience of the desert and I shall take full advantage of that."
Al Mutaiwei also faces a strong line-up of leading drivers that include the Russian G-Force Proto duo of Boris Gadasin and Vladimir Vasilyev, the Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal (H3 Proto), France's Patrick Sireyol (SMG Buggy) and the experienced Japanese driver Jun Mitsuhashi in a Toyota.
The event gets underway with the first of six desert special stages between Cairo and Tibniya on Monday. Crews will tackle a desert loop stage around the Tibniya bivouac on Tuesday and then the route heads to Abu Mingar on Wednesday.
The fourth stage is a loop section around Abu Mingar and the penultimate special forges its way across the desert towards Tibniya.
The final stage on October 6 heads from Tibniya to Cairo, where the podium finish will take place.
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