MERC Top regional rally drivers carry out low speed practice for Jordan Rally
2008 JORDAN RALLY, October 16th-October 18th 2008
2008 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 5 of 7
For immediate release
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
TOP REGIONAL RALLY DRIVERS CARRY OUT LOW
SPEED PRACTICE FOR WEEKEND'S JORDAN RALLY
Drivers from 12 countries arrive in Jordan for Dead Sea showdown
DEAD SEA (Jordan): Rally drivers from 12 countries have now arrived in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to make their final preparations for the fifth round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship that gets underway with a ceremonial start at the Al-Hussein Gardens in Amman from 5pm on Thursday, October 16th.
All the major championship protagonists will tackle 18 planned gravel special stages in the Dead Sea area of the Kingdom and drivers spent today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) carrying out policed reconnaissance of the twisty gravel trails that will determine who follows in last year's winner Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi's footsteps to claim the prestigious Jordan Rally crown.
Jordan hosted its first ever round of the FIA World Rally Championship in April this year and was therefore forced to run two international rallies this season for the first time to cater for the different requirements of the FIA's regional rally series.
Drivers are given details of the individual stages and route map by event officials at Jordan Motorsport and it is crucial that they check specific sections for loose gravel, rocks, potholes, and deceptive corners that could prove to be their undoing when the competitive action roars into life on Friday morning.
The event is being run under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince Feisal Al-Hussein and will feature a female clerk of the course for the first time. Randa Nabulsi has worked tirelessly for Jordan Motorsport in various capacities and is relishing her new challenge and has been busy over recent weeks finalising the format for the 18-special stage event, which finishes at the Dead Sea on Saturday afternoon from 5pm.
"I cannot stress how important the 'recce' (reconnaissance) is on a rally of this kind," admitted Chris Patterson, the co-driver for championship leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah. "It is important that you are thorough with every detail, because the nature of a stage can change at speed. Recce is carried out at low speeds, so a bump in the track at low speed will be totally different when you are flat out in a rally car over rally weekend. Each team has its own method for the recce and the making of the notes. Nasser and I have our system and it works well for us."
The Qatari heads into the weekend's action with a nine-point championship lead over fellow Qatari Misfer Al-Marri, who actually replaced him in a PWRC team for the recent Rally of New Zealand, when Nasser was fulfilling Olympic skeet shooting commitments at the Beijing Games. Al-Attiyah's retirement in July's Rally of Lebanon has thrown the championship wide open again heading into the final three rounds, here in Jordan and culminating with rallies in Cyprus and Dubai.
London-based Lebanese driver Nick Georgiou holds third place in the series, a mere two points behind Al-Marri, with the young Cypriot rookie Nicos Thomas a further two points behind. Jordanian drivers have endured mixed fortunes this season over the opening four rounds: Amjad Farrah has yet to score a championship point after a miserable run of luck and Faris Hijazi is the highest-placed local driver in 13th place.
For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2008 Jordan Rally Media Officer, Media Centre, Ground Floor, Mövenpick Hotel Dead Sea and Spa, Jordan, Mobile: + 962 79 9037531, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org