MERC Jordan Rally gets underway in Amman on Thursday afternoon

Jordan Rally
2013 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3

For immediate release
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013


· Kuwait’s Al-Thefiri aims to defend slender Group N MERC series lead
· Regraded Jordan stages offer slippery challenge to rally field

DEAD SEA (Jordan): The 2013 Jordan Rally, round three of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, gets underway at 5pm from Martyr’s Memorial in Al-Hussein Sports City in Amman on Thursday evening.

A provisional 28 entrants from eight countries will tackle 16 timed special stages and 256.64 competitive kilometres in a total route of 764.62km in the Dead Sea area of the Hashemite Kingdom on Friday and Saturday.

While the likes of Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, Doha-based Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Sharjah’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi will be vying for vital seconds at the front of the field, several drivers will be battling for supremacy in the Group N category for showroom-type cars.

Kuwait’s Mishari Al-Thefiri (Mitsubishi) currently holds a 15-point lead in the well-supported second tier category after securing points for first and third in the Group N section at the opening two rounds. The Emirati duo of Bader Al-Jabri (Subaru) and Majed Al-Shamsi (Subaru), Turkish lady driver Burcu Cetinkaya (Mitsubishi) and Qatari Abdullah Al-Kuwari (Mitsubishi) will be determined to close in on the Kuwaiti in the points’ standings.

Young Abu Dhabi Racing Team drivers Mohamed Al-Sahlawi and Mohamed Al-Mutawaa are the sole challengers in the two-wheel drive and Junior categories in their Citroën DS3s and seconds are likely to separate the two UAE drivers on these notoriously difficult gravel stages in Jordan.

“It’s our first time here and a new challenge for us,” admitted an enthusiastic Mutawaa. “Our co-drivers have been here before and so have many members of our team so we have experience and advise on hand.”

Drivers completed their policed reconnaissance of the route on Wednesday afternoon and the tricky nature of the roads was soon evident to the leading teams. “I think the stage surfaces have been regraded and there is a fine layer of very slippery gravel on the top,” admitted Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi’s British co-driver Steve Lancaster.

“This has made them so slippery and very tricky. Abdullah and I were talking to Nasser (Al-Attiyah) after the first day of the recce on Tuesday evening and we all agreed it is going to be very difficult. Nasser starts as the first car on the road and we are seventh and he jokingly admitted that he would be happy to swap our starting order for the first stage.”

The nature of rallying means that the leading two or three drivers, including Al-Attiyah and Khalid Al-Qassimi, will act as ‘road sweepers’ to ‘clean’ the stage surfaces of loose gravel and this may well put them at a slight disadvantage on the first two stages.

Tomorrow (Thursday) teams pass through the pre-event scrutineering checks before the official ceremonial at Martyr’s Memorial in Al-Hussein Sports City from 17.00hrs. Really action gets underway with the opening Suwayma stage at 08.18hrs on Friday morning.

Leading starters:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC
2. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Scott Martin (GBR) Citroën DS3 RRC
3. Roger Feghali (LEB)/Joseph Matar (LEB) Ford Fiesta S2000
4. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Killian Duffy (IRL) Ford Fiesta S2000
5. Ma’rouf Abu Samra (JOR)/Malek Hariri (JOR) Skoda Fabia S2000
6. Khalid Al-Suwaidi (QAT)/Nicola Arena (ITA) Ford Fiesta S2000
7. Abdullah Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Steve Lancaster (GBR) Ford Fiesta S2000
8. Michel Saleh (LEB)/Ziad Masannat (JOR) Subaru Impreza STi
9. Ala’a Khaleifah (JOR)/Othman Naseef (JOR) Subaru Impreza N14
10. Ala’a Rasheed (JOR)/Ata Al-Hmoud (JOR) Ford Fiesta S2000
11. Saeed Al-Mouri (SAU)/Amr Al-Refai (SAU) Mini Countryman RRC

FIA Middle East Rally Championship – positions after round 2:

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT) 50pts
2. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE) 36pts
3. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT) 30pts
4. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU) 20pts
4. Abdullah Al-Qassimi (ARE) 20pts
6. Khalid Al-Sowaidi (QAT) 12pts
7. Saeed Al-Mouri (SAU) 8pts
8. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) 6pts
8. Masoud Al-Saleh (KWT) 6pts
10. Bader Al-Jabri (ARE) 4pts
10. Mishari Al-Thefiri (KWT) 4pts
12. Meshal Al-Nejadi (KWT) 2pts
12. Michele de Nora (ITA) 2pts
14. Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (ARE) 1pt
14. Zaid Dahshan (JOR) 1pt

FIA Middle East Rally Championship – positions after round 2:
Group N Drivers

1. Mishari Al-Thefiri (KWT) 40pts
2. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) 25pts
3. Burcu Cetinkaya (TUR) 22pts
4. Bader Al-Jabri (ARE) 18pts
4. Meshal Al-Nejadi (KWT) 18pts
6. Zaid Dahshan (JOR) 15pts
7. Hani Al-Bast (JOR) 12pts
8. Ahmed Al-Sabban (SAU) 10pts
9. Edith Weiss (CHE) 8pts

FIA Middle East Rally Championship – positions after round 2:
2WD Drivers and Juniors

1. Mohamed Al-Sahlawi (ARE) 50pts
2. Mohamed Al-Matawaa (ARE) 18pts


Neil Perkins, International Press Officer, 2013 Jordan International Rally, Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort and Spa, Media Centre, Tel: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com - www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

Facebook Group - Jordan Motorsport (الأردنية لرياضة السيارات)
Twitter: @Jordanmotorspor


Date issued: 08/05/2013

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