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Jordan Rally sets entries record for MERC

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

For immediate release
Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

JORDAN RALLY SETS ENTRIES RECORD
FOR MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

Exciting Jordan Rally route format finalised

AMMAN (Jordan): The Marlboro-supported Jordan International Rally has attracted the largest ever entry for a round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, with 50 cars heading for the start of the fourth round of this year's series in Amman on Thursday, May 20th.

According to rally officials at the Royal Automobile Club in Amman, this is the largest number of cars ever assembled for a round of the regional series since its inception back in the early 1980s.

~We are proud of this achievement,~ said Ziad Louza, Clerk of the Course of this year's rally, which will be based at the Amman Marriott Hotel. ~The Middle East Rally Championship is increasing in popularity all the the time now that the rules permit the use of only Group N cars and 1600 two-wheel drive cars. That has led to bigger entries in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman earlier this season. But Jordan has always been the most popular round of the series and we had hoped to break the 50-car barrier.~

In addition to the main championship contenders from Qatar, Oman, Jordan, the UAE and Cyprus, teams and officials are expected to attend the there-day event from the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Syria, Italy and Germany.

The event begins on Thursday, May 20th at 17.06 hrs with the timed 2.27 kms Marlboro 'Super Special' stage, which always attracts a massive crowd. This will be filmed live by Jordan Television. The Jordan International Rally is traditionally the longest event in the regional championship and this year's event will cross a route of 1006 kms, of which 279 kms will be competitive over 20 timed special stages.

The second section of leg one takes place on Friday, May 21st and offers eight timed sections in the deserts to the south of Amman. Runs through the 18 kms Lajun special and the 20 kms Sultani stage are followed by centralised servicing in the Baalbaki Service Park on the King's Highway. This is followed by the first of two runs through the gruelling 29 kms Swaqqa stage and a 20 kms section near Qatrana. These four stages are then repeated and the first cars are scheduled to return to Amman at 18.40 hrs.

While the opening leg offers traditional desert terrain and the rigours of fast stages over punishing rocky tracks, the second leg takes place to the west of the city, in the mountaineous area near Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea - the lowest place on earth.

The stages are shorter and more technical and the timetable begins with a run through the Turki, Mount Nebo and then the Dead Sea stage - which is now renowned as being the lowest special stage on the planet. These stages are repeated, before the action shifts to Rumman, near Amman, for two runs through the Rumman special and a stage at Wadi Shueib.

The competitive action draws to a close with a second run through the 2.27 kms Marlboro Super Special at 17.28 hrs. The podium is scheduled for 18.30 hrs on Saturday evening in Amman.

~We have laid on a challenging route this year and I am sure that competitors will enjoy the special stages,~ added Louza. ~They offer a fine balance of fast, slow, rough, smooth and twisty tracks and, of course, we now have the GPS tracking system to ensure that everyone keeps on the correct route.~

For further information about the 2004 Jordan International Rally and entry details 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,
Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com/press

Date issued: 11/05/2004

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