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Royal Automobile Club announces Jordan Rally

2004 Jordan International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8

For immediate release
Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

ROYAL AUTOMOBILE CLUB ANNOUNCES
2004 JORDAN INTERNATIONAL RALLY

Marlboro to sponsor event for third successive season; Bumper entry expected

AMMAN (Jordan): The Royal Automobile Club of Jordan today (Wednesday) announced that the Jordan International Rally will be the fourth round of the 2004 FIA Middle East Rally Championship and will take place on May 20th/22nd. The event will be supported by Marlboro for a third successive season.

The three-day special stage event reverts to his traditional May date for the first time since 2001 and will take this year's regional eight-round rally series into its half-way point. Again based at the Royal Automobile Club in Amman, the event will cover special stages in the deserts to the south of Amman during leg one and twistier, more technical sections in the Dead Sea and Mount Nebo areas on day two.

This year's chanpionship has rapidly developed into the most exciting in the history of Middle East rallying, with numerous drivers now in with a chance of taking a fastest stage time or an outright event victory. This has arisen because of rule changes imposed by the FIA at the start of the season, which prohibited drivers from using powerful World Rally Cars throughout the 2004 calendar.

Coupled with a new Touratech GPS car tracking system, which eliminates the chances of drivers straying from the designated route, it has made the series far more competitive. The revolutionary tracking system will be used for the first time in Jordan, after its successful championship debut - where it was fitted to all cars - in Abu Dhabi's UAE Rally in January.

~We are delighted with the progress that the Middle East Championship has made this season,~ said Rally Manager Ziad Louza. ~The new regulations and tightening of stage security have made the series much closer. In Jordan we have some excellent special stages and a wide variety of terrain. The GPS system will be especially useful to track cars over the stages to the south of Amman. Tracks are more defined in the area around Mount Nebo and there has always been less of a security issue.

~Last year we moved the event to July, because of the close proximity of the original date to the Iraq War. It was much hotter than in May. It is much better for us to revert to our original date this year. We are expecting one of the largest ever entries for the Jordan Rally. The series has started well, with bumper entries in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.~

Motorsport has a long and prestigious history in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The sport was introduced by the late King Hussain in 1953. It retains its popularity and its royal links to this day, with members of the Royal Family taking an active role in the organisation and administration of international motorsport.

The inaugural Jordan Rally took place in 1964 and the first international status event was organised 17 years later. The Jordan International Rally became a round of the Gulf Rally Championship two years later and the first ever Middle East championship event was won by Qatar's Saeed Al-Hajri, who still takes an active interest in world rallying and finished sixth overall on the 2002 Arras-Madrid-Dakar Rally.

His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Al-Hussain was crowned Jordan Rally Champion in 1986 and 1988 and has regularly taken part in the event over the years. His Highness Prince Faisal Bin Al-Hussain is the Chairman of the Motorsport Executive Council and is involved in organising and administering the event's complex safety plan.

For further information about the 2004 Jordan International Rally and details about entry concessions contact Ziad Louza at the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan (RACJ), Tel: + 9626 5850626, Fax: + 9626 5818131, E-mail: racj@go.com.jo.

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2004 Jordan International Rally Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services,
Tel: + (44) 1952 825078, Fax: + (44) 1952 825001, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com/press releases

Date issued: 30/03/2004

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