WRC Rally fever grips Jordan as country's hotels bustle with WRC fraternity
JORDAN RALLY, April 1st-3rd, 2010
2010 FIA World Rally Championship, round 3
2010 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3
For immediate release
Monday, March 29th, 2010
RALLY FEVER GRIPS JORDAN AS COUNTRY’S
HOTELS BUSTLE WITH WRC FRATERNITY
· Stage set for thrilling re-run of 2008 Jordan Rally drama
· Teams set to complete stage reconnaissance on Tuesday
DEAD SEA (Jordan): Hotels in the Dead Sea area of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan were beginning to fill up with team members, officials and representatives from the global media on Monday, in advance of this weekend’s Jordan Rally. Sixty-five drivers from 26 countries will tackle 21 special stages over Easter weekend.
Members of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) community have taken around 1,000 room at the Dead Sea alone. Other hotels in Amman are also crowded with spectators, rally enthusiasts, VIPs, guests and team members, as Jordan prepares to host its most important sporting event of the year and benefit from a major boost to the economy.
The Jordan Rally has a prestigious history going back to the 1960s and 1970s through the efforts of the late King Hussein, but the event burst on to the global motor sport scene in 2008. It had been observed for inclusion in the WRC calendar for two years and deservedly took its place in the calendar two years ago.
A frantic battle ensued between the Spanish driver Dani Sordo and his Ford rivals, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala, with Hirvonen benefiting from team tactics on the final day to take one of the most exciting victories on one of the closest finishes in WRC history.
All three potential winning drivers are back for a second attempt at the rally in 2010. Hirvonen and Latvala will again represent the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team and Sordo teams up with defending World Champion Sébastien Loeb to represent the Citroën Total World Rally Team. Both Citroën drivers will be hoping to benefit from a recent gravel test session in Spain.
Early season indications from the first two rounds in Sweden and Mexico hint that this quartet should be the men to beat over Jordan’s unique gravel stages in the Dead Sea and Mount Nebo areas, but Petter Solberg will have other ideas. The Norwegian is definitely the David amongst the Goliaths in Jordan, as he chases a first WRC win since Rally GB in 2005. The Norwegian joined the rest of the WRC field to take a first look at the stages on Monday and he will complete his reconnaissance on Tuesday.
Nasser Al-Attiyah is one of five drivers taking part in the SWRC and MERC events this season, but the Qatari admits that he has not acclimatised to his new Skoda Fabia S2000 as quickly as he had hoped.
“I have been finding it difficult to adapt to driving a Super 2000 car,” said Al-Attiyah. “I have not had the chance of any dedicated testing in this car or any other S2000 cars. All the time I am trying to drive it like a turbocharged Group N car. Since 2003, every rally car I have driven has had a turbocharger. To compound the problem, cars that I have driven on Cross-Country events have had big turbochargers, which give a massive amount of torque.”
Officials at Jordan Motorsport have maintained a similar route to 2008, but modifications have been made to several stages because of recent adverse weather and the renowned water splash on the daunting Jordan River stage has been removed on safety grounds following freak rains in early March and resulting stage damage. The event will also start a day earlier and finish on Saturday, instead of the usual Friday-Sunday format employed in recent WRC seasons.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the second day of reconnaissance for crews taking part in the Jordan Rally. Event officials will also carry out weight checks on manufacturers’ cars and administration checks will take place for non-priority entrants and non-manufacturer teams.
The three-day event gets underway with a ceremonial start in Jerash from 11.00hrs on Thursday.
For further media information:
2010 Jordan Rally Press Office, Main Media Centre, King Hussein Ben Talal Convention Centre, Dead Sea, Jordan, Mobile: + 962 79 6548882 or Mobile: + 962 79 5640597, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com