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HAPPY CHRISTMAS; Abi heads home with season's greetings Neal's on wheels.

Byline: Martin Neal

TEESSIDE-BORN rally driver Abi Mahmood is coming come for Christmas.

Despite living in Slough for the last 18 years, the former Sheraton Grange School pupil from Stockton still has strong ties with the area.

And that's why he's looking forward to being back on home ground for the Specsavers Christmas Stages Rally at Croft Circuit on Saturday, December 29.

Abi was always destined to become a rally driver - his dad, Paul Khalid, was a dab hand himself.

A young Abi cut his teeth as co-driver to Dad, but now he's making a name for himself.

He's invested in an ex-works Nissan Sunny GTi, formerly used by four-times world champion Tommi Makinen.

Scotsman Neil Foulkes will co-drive for him at Croft, but it will be a real family affair for Abi with brother Aje on the spanners and their dad Paul a vital part of the team too.

"I've been watching rallies since I was about seven," explained Abi, "and, when my dad starting getting on a bit, I thought I'd give it a go!

"I bought this car and, on my first time out in it, I was second in class.

"The Christmas Stages is my home event so I'm really hoping for another good result there.

"There will be a lot of people there to support me because I still know a lot of people in the north, and I want to give them something to cheer.

"It's open to the public so everyone is welcome to come and see me in action.

"My sponsors, especially BTC Vehicle Rentals, have been very good to me and I'm keen to get a good result for them too."

Entries have already started flooding in for Northallerton AC's annual festive event.

Teessider Keith Davison will be out in his Darrian while rallycross star Dave Bellerby will be behind the wheel of a Ford Sapphire.

CAPTION(S):

FAMILY AFFAIR: Rally ace Abi Mahmood, right, with his brother and mechanic Aje, and his father Paul Khalid, a former rallyman himself who gave Abi his first taste for the sport
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 20, 2007
Words:348
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