ADJT Jordanian Dead Sea challenge awaits Abu Dhabi Junior Rally Team
2008 Jordan Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 5 of 7
For immediate release
Monday, October 13th, 2008
JORDANIAN DEAD SEA CHALLENGE
AWAITS ABU DHABI JUNIOR RALLY TEAM
Abu Dhabi’s Khalil Sheikh joins Majid Al-Shamsi and Bader Al-Jabri in Jordan
ABU DHABI (UAE): Three members of the Abu Dhabi Junior Rally Team head to the lowest point on earth to tackle the Jordan Rally, round five of the seven-event FIA Middle East Rally Championship, in the Dead Sea region of the Hashemite Kingdom this weekend.
The event takes place on Friday, October 17th and Saturday, October 18th and is the second international rally that Jordan has hosted this season – Jordan Motorsport ran a round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in April.
It will be an excellent test for the three Abu Dhabi youngsters over challenging gravel trails in the Dead Sea area, with stages taking place above and below sea level. Several sections were used in the WRC event and complimented by the likes of FIA World Champion Sébastien Loeb and BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team member Mikko Hirvonen.
Abu Dhabi’s exciting junior rally programme has been put together by BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi with support from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is run under the chairmanship of His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al-Nahyan.
Abu Dhabi’s Majid Al-Shamsi, Bader Al-Jabri and Khalil Al-Sheikh have already taken part in select rounds of the regional series this season on a rotation basis, with events in Syria and Lebanon following a couple of UAE national rallies and preceding a couple of small club rallies in the UK. In Jordan the three drivers will team up with Australian co-driver Dale Moscatt, Irishman Killian Duffy and Ulsterman Allan Harryman, as they continue to gain crucial experience on the international motor sport scene.
“The team has noticed great progress in their performances and professionalism over the first few events that they have contested,” admitted Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi. “This programme would not have been possible without the support of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and we are grateful to them for backing this venture to nurture young Abu Dhabi rally drivers on the international circuit.”
The three Abu Dhabi juniors will use nimble front-wheel drive Ford Fiestas over the Jordanian gravel stages. They were built by M-Sport in the UK and will be run on the event by a team under the management of Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Australian Ron Cremen. The Fiestas are fitted with two-litre engines and provide an ideal training platform for junior rally drivers.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) Junior Development programme has been established to create opportunities for young Abu Dhabi citizens and to set-up a professional development programme. The Abu Dhabi Junior Team will provide a stepping-stone for talented Abu Dhabi drivers and to develop strong support and interest in the sport of rallying in the UAE’s commercial capital, in addition to promoting the destination of Abu Dhabi on an international scale.
The Jordan Rally has attracted the region’s leading rally drivers, with Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah hoping to extend his championship lead over the likes of fellow Qatari Misfer Al-Marri, London-based Lebanese driver Nick Georgiou, Cypriot Nicos Thomas and Oman’s Nizar Al-Shanfari. Top drivers from Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are also expected to take part in the two days of competition.
The Abu Dhabi Junior Rally Team arrives in Amman today (Monday) to begin preparations for the two-day rally that offers 18 timed special stages and 262.78 competitive kilometres in a total route of 713.10 km. After a ceremonial start at the King Hussein Gardens in Amman from 17.30hrs on Thursday afternoon, the competitive action fires into life on Friday morning with runs through the Yakrut, Rawda, Seham and Baptism Site specials. These tests are repeated in the afternoon and teams will also tackle the tricky Mount Nebo special overlooking the Dead Sea.
Saturday’s second leg offers a further nine special stages, beginning with the Suwayma and Mahes tests, before the route heads on to gravel tracks in the Turki and Erak Elamir areas. The Mount Nebo special and the morning’s four stages are repeated during the afternoon, prior to the podium and ceremonial finish at the Emaar South Park on the shores of the Dead Sea from 17.00hrs.
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