MERC Thousands witness Jordan Rally get underway in Amman
2008 JORDAN RALLY, October 16th-October 18th 2008
2008 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 5 of 7
For immediate release
Thursday, October 16th, 2008
THOUSANDS WITNESS JORDAN
RALLY GET UNDERWAY IN AMMAN
· Outcome of Jordan event pivotal in Pirelli Star Driver competition
DEAD SEA (Jordan): The fifth round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship got underway at the Al-Hussein Gardens in Amman on Thursday afternoon, with 34 drivers from 12 countries crossing the start podium of the 2008 Jordan Rally, which is being held under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince Feisal Al-Hussein.
Thousands of rally spectators gathered to see off the leading drivers from the Middle East region, with 12 Jordanian teams trying to unsettle the pre-event favourite and regional championship leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah over the next two days.
The competitive action gets underway on Friday morning and teams will tackle nine special stages on both Friday and Saturday, before the ceremonial finish at the Dead Sea from 5pm on Saturday afternoon. “The stages are similar in many places to the ones we used for the WRC Rally in April,” admitted Randa Nabulsi, the new clerk of the course of the Jordan Rally and the first female senior official to hold such a post in the history of Middle East rallying.
Friday’s action roars into life with the 14.12km Yakrut special stage from 8.30hrs and this will be followed with a run through the 12.54km Rawda special. Remote refuelling is then available for teams, before two further timed tests are tackled at Seham (09.50hrs) and close to the Baptism Site (10.33 hrs) in the Jordan Valley. Competitors then return to the service park, situated in the hotels’ area on the Dead Sea shoreline, for a regroup and 20-minute service stop.
Competitive action resumes at noon with a second run through the Yakrut, Rawda and Seham special stages and a return to a regroup and service stop near the Dead Sea from 14.30hrs. The final two stages of the first day see teams tackling the 11.10km Mount Nebo special, over winding tracks in the foothills of the famous mountain, and a second run over tracks near the Baptism Site from 15.54hrs. Surviving competitors will be permitted a final service at the Dead Sea from 16.19hrs, before the overnight halt.
One of the fascinating contests during the weekend will be the battle for Pirelli Star driver honours between the young Cypriot Nicos Thomas and his chief rival Nick Georgiou. The duo are fourth and third in the regional championship and Georgiou holds a slender lead in the Pirelli competition. They both see the outcome of the Jordan Rally as pivotal in deciding the outcome of the coveted Pirelli prize of a potential works drive in 2009.
“This will be my third Jordan Rally, so maybe I should have a slight advantage,” said Georgiou. “But it will be very close and I will leave nothing to chance. Nicos is sure to be quick and I know I must beat him here, because the next round takes place in Cyprus over stages he knows very well. Then we have Dubai, which is going to be even closer, so this is a pivotal rally for us both.” Thomas, on the other hand, will be tackling the event for the first time.
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