Last Jordan chance for Formula Two cars in MERC

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

For immediate release
Sunday, April 11th, 2004


End of an era for two-wheel drive; non-homologated cars out

AMMAN (Jordan): Next month's Jordan International Rally, which is being organised by the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan with support from Marlboro, will mark the last opportunity for drivers of Formula Two 1600 cars to score FIA Middle East Championship points in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Radical rule changes have been introduced to the series in the last 12 months to prohibit the use of World Rally Cars in FIA regional championships - including the Middle East - and that will be followed next year by a new ruling concerning Formula Two cars and older cars with no FIA homologation, such as Toyota Celicas and Volvo 244s. These have been used by amateur drivers on previous Jordan rallies and other rounds of the FIA Middle East Championship.

A decision was taken at an organisers' meeting in Abu Dhabi earlier this year to prohibit the use of non-homologated cars in 2005. Class A5 and A6 cars (Formula Two 1600 cars) will be able to compete, but will not score points. Only Group N or 'showroom' category cars will score points in the championship.

May's two-day Marlboro-sponsored event will, therefore, mark the last opportunity for championship contenders to compete in the likes of Opel Corsas, CitroŽn Saxos and Proton Wiras in the Jordan International Rally.

~This is sad news for those amongst us who run two-wheel drive cars,~ said British competitor Raj Jutley, who tackled the recent Bahrain Rally in an Opel Corsa. ~But progress is progress and there is no disputing that the series with Group N cars at the forefront has been exciting this season so far.~

According to Jordan Rally Manager Ziad Louza, the 2005 FIA Middle East Rally Championship will also adopt the new WRC points-scoring system. ~This enables drivers to score points on both legs one and two of rallies,~ said Louza.

~Drivers who have problems and retire from the opening section will be permitted to rebuild their cars and compete in the second leg. May's rally here will be the last time we see the traditional 10 points for a win, down to one point for eighth place here in Jordan.~

After two rounds of this year's FIA regional series in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, there is a tie between Kuwait's Meshal Al-Nejadi in his CitroŽn Saxo and Cypriot Nearchos Nearchou in a Proton Wira for the lead of the championship's unofficial 1600 two-wheel drive series. Meshal's brother Essam lies third overall in a second Proton Wira, a mere two points adrift.

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.


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: 11/04/2004

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