MERC Service reduction places greater emphasis on detailed recce at Jordan Rally
2014 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3
For immediate release
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
SERVICE REDUCTION PLACES GREATER EMPHASIS
ON DETAILED RECONNAISSANCE AT JORDAN RALLY
· Gelsomino and Derousseaux set for first Jordan MERC rally outings
· QMMF-backed Nada Zeidan sole woman driver on Jordan entry list
DEAD SEA (Jordan): The two-day reconnaissance of the special stages of this week’s Jordan Rally takes on even greater significance after the organising team amended the rally timetable and did away with service after two special stages.
This means that 28 teams and competitors from Qatar, Italy, UAE, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and the USA will tackle five demanding gravel special stages at the start of each day without returning to the service park at the Dead Sea.
“With the first service being removed after two stages and now happening after five stages it is all going to be about tactics this year,” said Qatar’s championship leader Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah. “We are going to change our strategy to adapt and make sure that we don’t take risks. The rally is going to be tougher. It is not a bad thing, but it could be very hot as well.”
The event has attracted the cream of the region’s rally drivers and there will be two individuals competing in an MERC event in the Hashemite Kingdom for the first time.
Alex Gelsomino sprung to prominence alongside the charismatic Ken Block in the WRC and the American is looking forward to his first MERC event alongside the Kuwaiti driver Salah bin Eidan, although the duo were paired together in the Rally of Portugal. Bin Eidan, driving a Ford Fiesta R5, currently holds equal seventh in the Drivers’ Championship and needs a top five finish to bolster his title chances this weekend.
French female co-driver Catherine Derousseaux has been sitting alongside Sharjah’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi in national rallies in Oman and the UAE this season and made her Middle East debut with Al-Qassimi to claim fourth position in Kuwait. This will be her first appearance in Jordan. She is one of two female co-drivers on the entry list, with Jordan’s Nancy Al-Majali also entered alongside Husam Salam in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII.
Qatar’s Nada Zeidan is the only female driver present this week. Backed by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), Ziedan teams up with Kamal Khoder in a Subaru Impreza and is looking forward to her third successive MERC outing of the season.
Al-Attiyah - who has a 17-point lead in the regional championship after two rounds - and his rivals carry out reconnaissance of Friday’s and Saturday’s 20 gravel stages today and tomorrow (Wednesday) before the event gets underway with a ceremonial start and opening super special stage in Abdali from 4pm on Thursday evening.
Neil Perkins, International Press Officer, 2014 Jordan Rally, Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort and Spa, Media Centre, Tel: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com and firstname.lastname@example.org - www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Twitter: @LordPerkins
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