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MERC Gruelling gravel stages await teams at start of Jordan Rally on Friday

Jordan Rally
2013 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3

For immediate release
Thursday, May 9th, 2013

GRUELLING GRAVEL SPECIAL STAGE TESTS AWAIT TEAMS
AT START OF JORDAN RALLY COMPETITION ON FRIDAY

· UAE’s Abdullah Al-Qassimi says ‘toughest ever test in Jordan Rally'
· Event sponsors and drivers meet media at Jordan press conference

DEAD SEA (Jordan): The 2013 Jordan Rally, round three of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), got underway from Martyrs’ Memorial in Al-Hussein Sports City in Amman on Thursday evening.

As teams made their final preparations for the first gravel special stage at Suwayma on Friday morning, the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi – a former Group N regional champion and one of the longest serving supporters of the MERC – claimed that this could be the most difficult ever Jordan Rally.

“The organisers have regraded and repaired the special stages and this has made the stage surfaces incredibly slippery,” said the Ford Fiesta driver from Sharjah. “I went off twice on the recce on a couple of very difficult downhill sections. Everyone will need to be extremely cautious, especially on the second Mahes stage. You try to push a little and the car snaps out of line and it will bite you. You push a little too hard into a corner and you will be off the road. It will bite you hard.

“People talk about the marble-like surfaces in Rally Australia, these surface stones are much bigger, yet you still have problems. These stages will not be for the faint-hearted. It will be interesting to see who decides to push early on and who decides to play the waiting game and drive cautiously.”

Turkish female driver Burcu Cetinkaya and Jordanian WRC driver Ala’a Rasheed joined Firas Irshiedat, general manager, Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort and Spa, Ahmed Hanandeh (CEO, Zain) Amer Al-Basheer, deputy chairman of Jordan Motorsport and Eng. Ekrimeh Mahasneh (CEO, CIC Ford) at the official pre-event press conference at Zain’s Amman headquarters on Wednesday evening.

“We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Jordan Rally,” said Al-Basheer. “This means that Jordan has a long history in motor sport and the Royal family has always supported the event since we hosted it for the first time. We thank all the sponsors who have made the Jordan Rally a successful event.”

“I am so proud to represent Jordan in the WRC rounds,” added Rasheed, who is brimming with confidence after finishing the Rally of Portugal last month. “It’s given me more vital experience and now I will do my best to finish as high as possible in the Jordan Rally. This is one of the most difficult rallies in the region.”

“Zain has always supported sports events in Jordan and now we are back supporting motor sport,” added Hanandeh on behalf of telecommuncations sponsor Zain. “We are so happy with this and looking forward to have a long term sponsorship with them. We will also sit with the Jordanian drivers to see if we can support them in their participation in the WRC.”

Competitive action gets underway on Friday morning with the 13.50km Suwayma special stage at 08.18hrs. The first leg will consist of eight special stages and 124.06 competitive kilometres.

Friday’s timetable – day 1
SS1 Suwayma 1 (13.50km) 08.18hrs
SS2 Mahes 1 (20.44km) 08.56hrs
Service Dead Sea 09.56hrs
SS3 Mount Nebo 1 (11.09km) 10.43hrs
SS4 Ma’in 1 (17.00km) 11.30hrs
Service Dead Sea 12.19hrs
SS5 Suwayma 2 (13.50km) 12.57hrs
SS6 Mahes 2 (20.44km) 13.35hrs
Service Dead Sea 14.35hrs
SS7 Mount Nebo 2 (11.09km) 15.22hrs
SS8 Ma’in 2 (17.00km) 16.09hrs

Ends

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)

www.jordanrally.com
www.merc-fia.com
Facebook Group - Jordan Motorsport (الأردنية لرياضة السيارات)
Twitter: @Jordanmotorspor

Date issued: 09/05/2013

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