MERC Rashed Al-Nuami heads into Jordan's MERC 2 showdown with two-point lead
2016 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3
For immediate release
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
RASHED AL-NUAMI HEADS INTO JORDAN’S
MERC 2 SHOWDOWN WITH TWO-POINT LEAD
· Quality field of MERC 2 drivers look to edge ahead of Qatari series leader
DEAD SEA (Jordan): Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah may be the firm favourite to win the Jordan Rally outright for a 10th time at the Dead Sea this week, but there’s another equally as important competition running minutes behind the Qatari and involving a whole host of the region’s leading drivers.
The FIA Middle East Rally Championship’s Group N series has been renamed MERC 2 this year and has already become a battle ground for drivers from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Turkey, Italy, Jordan and Lebanon on the opening two rallies in Qatar and Kuwait.
Qatar’s Rashed Al-Nuami currently holds a two-point advantage over fellow countryman Abdullah Al-Kuwari in the MERC 2 points’ standings, although Kuwait Rally runner-up Meshari Al-Thafiri and Lebanon’s rising star Rodolphe Asmar are five and eight points behind, respectively.
“It’s important that we carry out an accurate recce and make no mistakes,” said Al-Nuami’s Italian navigator Nicola Arena. “These stages are tricky and can easily catch you out.
“MERC 2 cars are not as strong and as forgiving as the R5s and we need to drive quickly, but also keep one eye on not damaging the car. MERC 2 has become very popular this year and we are looking forward to an exciting fight with a string field over the next few days.”
The series is still wide open with five rallies remaining this season in Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Oman and Dubai. Saudi Arabia’s Rakan Rashed and Turkey’s Vedat Diker will catapult themselves into contention with a good result this weekend along the notoriously difficult, smooth and flowing stages that make the three-day Jordan Rally such a unique challenge.
Jordan’s Husam Salem collected five championship points at the opening round in Qatar and missed round two in Kuwait, but last year’s Jordan Rally Group N winner and his female navigator Nancy Al-Majali will be aiming for another podium finish in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
The MERC 2 entry in Jordan has strength in depth: Khaled and Emad Juma add power to the home challenge and they will be supported by the other Jordanian crews of Ihab Al-Shorafa and Hazem Attiyat and Lina Hadidi and Barkev Shadian in their respective Mitsubishi Lancer and Subaru Impreza.
Teams complete the second day of their reconnaissance of the special stages on Wednesday, before the event gets underway with a ceremonial start and super special stage in Abdali, Amman’s new business, commercial and leisure hub, on Thursday afternoon.
The meat of the action takes place in the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley areas on Friday and Saturday.
2016 FIA MERC 2 – positions after round 2:
1. Rashid Al-Nuami (QAT) 44 pts
2. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT) 42 pts
3. Meshari Al-Thafiri (KWT) 39 pts
4. Rodolphe Asmar (LEB) 36 pts
5. Yigit Timur (TUR) 29 pts
6. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT) 24 pts
7. Stephano Marrini (ITA) 20 pts
8. Rakan Al-Rashed (SAU) 18 pts
9. Vedat Diker (TUR) 7 pts
10. Husam Salem (JOR) 5 pts
10. Salem Ali (KWT) 5 pts
12. Elie Chachati (LEB) 2 pts
Neil Perkins, News and Information Officer, 2016 Jordan Rally, Petra Hall 2 Media Centre, King Abdullah Bin Talal Convention Centre by Hilton, Jordan Rally Media Service, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com and email@example.com - www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases). Twitter: @LordPerkins. Facebook Group: MERC
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