MERC Thousands flock to witness start of Jordan Rally
2009 Jordan Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 6 of 7
For immediate release
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
THOUSANDS FLOCK TO WITNESS OPENING
CEREMONY OF JORDAN RALLY IN AMMAN
· International rally stars enjoy Amman fanfair before weekend showdown
· HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein joins rally fans at ceremonial start
· Jordanian singing sensation Omar Abdallat thrills crowds in Abdoun
DEAD SEA (Jordan): Thousands of spectators brought West Amman to a standstill today when a free concert by singing superstar Omar Abdallat launched the 2009 Jordan Rally, the penultimate round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
The jubilant scenes were reminiscent of those in Manhattan in the 1980s when rock legends U2 sang a spontaneous rendition of ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ on top of a multi-story building in the downtown area of New York.
The concert preceded the official ceremonial start of the two-day, all-gravel rally, which will move to the Dead Sea area over the next two days and may well decide the outcome of the regional rally series. Leading cars were flagged away from the start by HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein, Chairman of Jordan Motorsport.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah begins the event with a one-point championship lead over fellow countryman, Misfer Al-Marri. Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi is a further point behind heading into the weekend’s 18 special stages, although Lebanon’s Roger Feghali will be going all out for the win with nothing to lose.
Al-Marri is upbeat after seeing the stages over the last two days. “We had a good look at the tracks. Three of the first ones are very fast, but we need to be careful for rocks on the corners. I know we need to finish, but I will push hard on the first three and see where our position is at the first service. Nasser also has to finish and he will be under pressure as well. Roger had a good lead against him last time in Jordan and is very fast here. He will be flat out with no pressure and Nasser will not want to be beaten.”
Al-Attiyah has a hectic programme of motor sport events away from the region, but confirmed his commitment to the regional rally series at the pre-event press conference. “This championship is close to my heart,” said the Qatari. “I want to win the title again and win another rally. I know I need to finish here, but Roger will be pushing hard and I want to beat him as well.”
The event marks the first appearance in the Middle East of a new combined tracking and timing solution, run by Sporttraxx, who have been in charge of GPS tracking in the region for more than six years. Data coming from new timing equipment is combined with information received directly from the competing cars in order to provide real time results and almost total reliability and accuracy.
Tomorrow (Friday), competitors will tackle nine timed special stages, beginning with a run through the 14.12km Yakrut special stage at 07.31hrs. Runs through the Rawda, Seham and Baptism Site stages follow, before teams return to the service park for a regrouping and service from 10.13hrs.
Yakrut, Rawda and Seham are repeated at 11.04hrs, 11.57hrs and 12.22hrs. Service and regrouping follows from 13.21hrs and day one’s competitive action reaches a conclusion with a run through the Mount Neb stage (14.23hrs) and a final dash through the 12.48km of the Baptism Site special at the foot of the Jordan Valley.
The event is scheduled to finish at the Dead Sea from 16.15hrs on Saturday afternoon.
For further media information:
2009 Jordan Rally Media Office, Vartanii 1 Ballroom, Ground Floor, Jordan Valley Marriott Spa and Resort, Dead Sea, Jordan, Mobile: + 962 79 612 5831, E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org