MERC Al-Attiyah holds slender Jordan Rally lead after super special stage in Abdali
2014 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3
For immediate release
Thursday, May 1st, 2014
QATAR’S AL-ATTIYAH SNATCHES SLENDER JORDAN
RALLY LEAD AFTER ABDALI SUPER SPECIAL STAGE
· Second for Khalid Al-Qassimi; Sheikh Abdullah holds third
· Early Group N advantage for Jordanian Husam Salem
· Health issues force Yazeed Al-Rajhi to miss Jordan Rally start
· Teams to tackle 10 gravel special stages in Jordan Valley on Friday
DEAD SEA (Jordan): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Italian navigator Giovanni Bernacchini held a lead of 5.4 seconds after the opening 1.63km gravel super special stage of the 2014 Jordan Rally at Abdali, the new downtown of Amman, on Thursday evening.
Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Chris Patterson were classified in second position in a Citroën DS3 RRC and Sharjah’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi and French co-driver Catherine Derousseaux were third, a further 9.2 seconds adrift.
The early advantage in the Group N category was held by the Jordanian crew of fourth-placed Husam Salem and Nancy Al-Majali. Qatar’s Khalifa Al-Attiyah was sidelined in the stage with reported mechanical problems.
Mohamed Al-Mutawee was the quickest of the five Abu Dhabi Juniors and snatched a 2.6-second lead in both the 2WD and Junior categories.
Twenty-three crews were flagged away from the start by HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein, chairman of Jordan Motorsport, in the presence of a number of VIPs and dignitaries including Nasser Khalifa Al-Attiyah, president of the QMMF and FIA vice-president for sport MENA.
A one-minute silence was held at the podium before the start in memory of the Qatari driver Misfer Al-Marri, the 2010 regional rally champion who passed away earlier this year.
Hundreds of spectators benefited from a national Labor Day holiday in Jordan and were present to witness a Q&A forum with the leading drivers and the ceremonial start that preceded the first gravel super special stage. The forum was broadcast on live television and radio and included interviews and questions with regional championship rivals Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, Khalid Al-Qassimi and Michel Saleh and local drivers Ala’a Rasheed and Husam Salem.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi was given special dispensation by rally officials to complete his reconnaissance of the gravel special stages in the Dead Sea area on Thursday morning after the Saudi had been taken ill and was hospitalised for treatment for a heart condition on Wednesday.
But the Riyadh driver will not start the event and will undergo a procedure at a hospital in Amman to remove a reported arterial blockage before returning to Saudi Arabia for further treatment, according to friend and rival Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah.
Tomorrow (Friday), rally officials have planned two loops of five gravel special stages split by one regroup and a 30-minute service break at the Dead Sea.
Crews will tackle the Mount Nebo (09.13hrs) and Ma’in (09.51hrs) stages prior to a remote refuelling stop and then the first of two runs through the Suwayma (10.51hrs), Yakrut (11.23hrs) and Bahath (11.48hrs) specials. The five stages will be repeated between 13.44hrs and 16.19hrs.
2014 Jordan Rally – positions after SS1:
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC 2min 18.6sec
2. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Chris Patterson (GBR) Citroën DS3 RRC 2min 24.0sec
3. Abdullah Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Catherine Derousseaux (FRA) Ford Fiesta RRC 2min 33.2sec
4. Husam Salem (JOR)/Nancy Al-Majali (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII 2min 35.9sec
5. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Emad Juma (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 2min 36.8sec
6. Marouf Abu Samra (JOR)/Nicola Fanous (JOR) Skoda Fabia S2000 2min 38.5sec
7. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Nicola Arena (ITA) Ford Fiesta R5 2min 40.8sec
8. Khaled Juma (JOR)/Ibrahim Qadadeh (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII 2min 41.8sec
9. Mohamed Al-Mutawaa (ARE)/Stephen McAuley (GBR) Citroën DS3 R3 2min 43.0sec
10. Ala’a Rasheed (JOR)/Joseph Matar (LEB) Ford Fiesta RRC 2min 43.3sec
11. Mohamed Al-Sahlawi (ARE)/Craig Parry (GBR) Citroën DS3 R3 2min 45.6sec
12. Saeed Bintowq (ARE)/Allan Harryman (GBR) Citroën DS3 R3 2min 46.0sec
13. Michel Saleh (LBN)/Ziad Masannat (JOR) Subaru Impreza 2min 46.8sec
14. Salameh Al-Qammaz (JOR/Faris Al-Tal (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V 2min 49.2sec
15. Juma Al-Falaisi (ARE)/John Higgins (IRL) Citroën DS3 R3 2min 53.1sec
16. Salah Bin Eidan (KWT)//Alex Gelsomino (USA) Ford Fiesta R5 2min 53.3sec
17. Mansoor Belhelai (ARE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (ARE) Citroën DS3 R3 2min 59.1sec
18. Ala’ Khalifeh (JOR)/Ata Al-Hmoud (JOR) Ford Fiesta R5 3min 02.1sec
18. Basheer Azar (JOR)/Bilal Majdalawi (JOR) Subaru Impreza 3min 02.1sec
20. Suhail Al-Jariri (JOR)/Maysoon Jayousi (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI 3min 12.8sec
21. Nada Zeidan (QAT)/Kamal Khoder (QAT) Subaru Impreza 4min 01.1sec
22. Mohammed Rasheed (JOR)/Ahmad Al-Khatib (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 5min 36.1sec
Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Adel Hussein (QAT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo XI DNF
Neil Perkins, International Press Officer, 2014 Jordan Rally, Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort and Spa, Media Centre, Jordan mobile: + 962 79 0873257, UK mobile: + 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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