MERC Jordan Rally gets underway with ceremonial start in Amman
Jordan International Rally
2012 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4
For immediate release
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
JORDAN RALLY GETS UNDERWAY WITH CEREMONIAL START IN AMMAN
· Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah leads top class entry into battle
· Saudi’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi plans flat out attack in Jordanian desert
DEAD SEA (Jordan): Qatar’s seven-time FIA Middle East rally champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah led a quality field of regional drivers over the start podium of the 2012 Jordan Rally at the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman on Thursday afternoon.
Ahead of the top off-road drivers in the Middle East lie 16 timed special stages through the low lying deserts at the Dead Sea on Friday and Saturday. Teams have already had two days to check the route and assess the difficulties and technicality of the special stages.
“The recce went well but the stages are so slippery,” warned British co-driver Steve Lancaster, who co-drives a Ford Fiesta S2000 alongside Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi. “It may be a slight disadvantage for Nasser and the first couple of cars on the road to sweep the roads, but we all know that Nasser is more than capable of setting winning times, even when he runs first on the road.”
Championship leader Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, the Jordanian duo of Husam Salem and Mazan Tantash, the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, Lebanon’s Nick Georgiou and Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi attended the pre-event press conference on the shores of the Dead Sea on Wednesday evening.
Al-Rajhi’s goal is the outright victory. “I have been doing well in the World Championship but I have a different strategy here,” said the Saudi. “I will go flat out on the first stage, as fast as possible, and see what my pace is. Then we will see what happens on the rest of the rally!”
Al-Qassimi is taking part in his first event since leaving the WRC last October. Relishing his programme of events with Abu Dhabi Racing and Citroen in 2013, the Emirati has recently undergone two bouts of surgery on knee and leg problems and is playing down his chances of success in Jordan. “It’s just a case of getting back into shape and finding my pace again before next year,” insisted the 2004 regional champion.
Saudi Arabia’s Saeed Al-Mouri is tackling the event with Amr Al-Refai, with a view to taking part in all rounds of the series in 2013 in his Hankook Racing-backed Mitsubishi. “The stages are very good and difficult but the funny thing is, even here in Jordan, some drivers love to cut the corners on the rally roads.”
Drivers will tackle eight stages on Friday and another eight timed tests on Saturday. Action kicks off at 08.18hrs on Friday morning with the first of two runs through the Suwayma stage, before teams tackle the Mahes, Mount Nebo and Ma’in specials en route to a regrouping and service at the Dead Sea from midday. The four stages are repeated in the afternoon.
The Turki, Bahath, Al-Karama and the Baptism Site stages are on the agenda on Saturday morning from 07.53hrs and the four timed tests will be repeated in the afternoon after a regroup and service from 11.33hrs. The podium ceremony will take place at the Dead Sea at 16.50hrs.
Neil Perkins, International Press Officer, 2012 Jordan International Rally, Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort and Spa, Media Centre, Tel: 962 78 8807097, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com
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