Royal stamp of approval to raise profile of Jordan Rally

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

For immediate release
Thursday, May 20th, 2004


Seabird Seekers aircraft offer ground-breaking aeriel rally coverage; Spectator stage starts tonight

AMMAN (Jordan): His Royal Highness Prince Feisal Bin Al-Hussein, the Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan's Executive Council, is keen to see the profile of the Jordan International Rally raised over the next few years. The 22nd event began this evening with a timed spectator stage at Marj Al-Hammam in Amman.

Speaking before the start of the 2004 Jordan International Rally on Thursday morning, HRH Prince Feisal Bin Al-Hussein said: ~Middle East motorsport has made rapid progress in recent years. We have seen that very recently with the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, a new race circuit facility in Qatar and an exciting racing development in Dubai.

~In Jordan our international rally has grown in status over the last three years and is now regarded as the most professionally-organised round of the championship. This is underlined by the record number of competitors for this year's event and these numbers will only rise with the increase in the popularity of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

~We have superb varied terrain for rallying in Jordan and we are continuing to look at ways of improving this event to enhance its profile on the international motor sports calendar.~

The fourth round of this year's FIA Middle East Rally Championship started at 17.00 hrs on Thursday evening, with the timed Marlboro spectator stage at Marj Al-Hamman. This opening stage has traditionally been the most popular in the entire regional championship, with between 8000 and 10,000 people expected to watch the action unfold.

For the first time in the history of the Jordan Rally, the stages will be monitored by live aerial coverage, courtesy of a pair of Seabird Seeker SB7L-360 aircraft. Built in Jordan under a Jordanian-Australian joint venture licence, these helicopter-bodied, fixed-wing craft will provide rally officials with 'eye in the sky' video data to assist the event's complex safety plan.

Seabird Aviation is a joint venture between the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) - which designed the 'Desert Iris' all-terrain vehicle - and Seabird Aviation Australia. His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein drove a 'Desert Iris' as course opening car through one special stage on the 2000 Jordan International Rally.

Tomorrow (Friday) there will be eight timed sections in the deserts to the south of Amman. Runs through a new Lajun stage and a Sultani special are followed by centralised servicing in the Baalbaki Service Park on the Desert Highway. This is followed by the Swaqqa stage and a new test near Qatrana, before the loop of four stages is repeated on Friday afternoon.


For further media information:
Neil Perkins or Sharif Baalbaki, 2004 Jordan International Rally Media Centre, RACJ, Ground Floor, Amman, Jordan, Tel: + (962) 6 5828736 or + (962) 6 5827603, Fax: + (962) 6 5825091, Mobile: + (962) 77 633609.
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
Websites: www.ndp-publicity.com and www.racj.com

Date issued: 20/05/2004

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