WRC Jordan Rally gets underway with ceremonial start in Jerash
JORDAN RALLY, April 14-16th, 2011
2011 FIA World Rally Championship, round 4
2011 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3
For immediate release
Thursday, April 14th, 2011
JORDAN RALLY GETS UNDERWAY WITH CEREMONIAL START IN JERASH
· Norway’s Petter Solberg sets fastest time on shakedown stage
· Truck and logistics convoy finally arrives at Dead Sea service park
DEAD SEA (Jordan): The Jordan Rally got underway as per Thursday’s revised schedule after the convoy of delayed trucks and logistical supplies had made it off the stricken ship in the Mediterranean and arrived at the Dead Sea service park in the early hours of the morning.
Cars being used in both the FIA World and Middle East Rally Championships were duly rebuilt and taken to pre-event scrutineering on Thursday morning. Drivers were then able to set up the cars to their required settings at the rearranged shakedown test stage, which took place on Thursday lunchtime.
“The facilities are not as comprehensive as we would normally have but, under the circumstances, our boys did a fantastic job,” said Ford Abu Dhabi team principal Malcolm Wilson. “To build a service park overnight is a huge task and not one we would like to undertake again.”
Norway’s Petter Solberg and British co-driver Chris Patterson set the fastest time of 1m 15.1s on the shakedown stage, with Sébastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala clocking the second and third quickest times.
Defending champion Loeb, Latvala, Norway’s Petter Solberg, Emirati Khalid Al-Qassimi and SWRC drivers Bernardo Sousa and Eyvind Brynildsen then attended the official pre-event press conference at the service park, before the rally caravan headed north to Jerash for the delayed ceremonial start on Thursday evening.
Tomorrow (Friday) the Jordan Rally reverts to the original timetable of six timed special stages in the Sumayma, Kefrain and Jordan River areas. The first car is scheduled to leave the Dead Sea service park at 08.30hrs and head towards the first of two runs through the 13.50km Suwayma special (09.03hrs).
A stage at Kefrain follows at 09.46hrs and the marathon 41.45km Jordan River special precedes the first service stop at the Dead Sea service area. Each of the three special stages is repeated on Friday afternoon and the day’s timetable is completed with the final service of the day from 16.38hrs.
The cancellation of Thursday’s shorter six special stages has played into the hands of the Citroën Total World Rally Team. Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen will now be forced to run first on the road for more kilometres on Friday and may suffer the distinct disadvantage of acting as the ‘road sweeper’.
“It’s not the greatest position to be in,” admitted the Finn. “Normally I would have two days to catch up after a day of sweeping the road. The route changes leaves me with one now.”
For further media information:
2011 Jordan Rally Press Office, Main Media Centre, King Hussein Ben Talal Convention Centre, Dead Sea, Jordan, Mobile: + 962 79 9036490, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com