MERC Al-Attiyah draws first blood in Jordan Rally with fastest time in new Abdali super special stage
2016 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3
For immediate release
Thursday, May 5th, 2016
NASSER AL-ATTIYAH DRAWS FIRST BLOOD IN JORDAN RALLY
WITH FASTEST TIME IN NEW ABDALI SUPER SPECIAL STAGE
· Fellow Qatari Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari in second; fourth for Khalid Al-Suwaidi
· First stage MERC 2 lead and third overall for local hero Husam Salem
ABDALI (Jordan): Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver Matthieu Baumel held a small advantage after the opening Abdali super special stage of the Jordan Rally on Thursday afternoon.
Driving a Skoda Fabia R5, the defending regional champion beat Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari by 9.5 seconds to reach the end of the first section of leg one with the bragging rights. Thousands of spectators witnessed the action in Amman’s new downtown district, as the organising Jordan Motorsport took the action to the centre of the capital before heading down to the Dead Sea region for the weekend.
“I finished second here last year but second is like being last as far as I am concerned,” said a determined Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari. “There are maybe five new stages. We have to push. I have to put Nasser under pressure. We rarely see him under pressure. My goal for the next two days has to be to attack.”
The Jordanian crew of Husam Salem and Nancy Al-Majali set the third fastest time of 3min 38.7sec in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX to claim the early initiative in what promises to be a fascinating tussle for MERC 2 honours. Current MERC 2 championship standings remain provisional pending the outcome of fuel sample checks taken by the FIA at the Kuwait Rally in March.
The Jordanian quartet of Khaled Juma, Asem Aref, Ihad Al-Shorafa and Lina Hadadi held fifth, 11th, 13th and 15th overall.
Cars were flagged away from the start by Prince Feisal Al-Hussein, chairman of Jordan Motorsport, in the presence of a number of visiting VIPs.
Al-Attiyah, Al-Kuwari, Lina Hadadi, Husam Salem, Meshari Al-Thefiri and Rakan Al-Rashed had earlier attended a pre-event Q&A session on the podium that had been beamed live around the region.
“This is my first time here in Jordan and I have been very impressed,” said Rakan Rashed, who settled into 14th overall. “I spoke to Nasser before the start and he told me the stages were not in a class of the Middle East. He told me they were world class. That made me really think that I needed to be careful. Of course, I want to finish and I don’t want to make any mistakes.”
Tomorrow (Friday), teams tackle 10 special stages, split into two repeats of specials at Ma’in, Syagha, Rama, Bahath and Suwayma. With service not permitted at the Dead Sea until after the fifth of the timed tests, it will be imperative that drivers do not inflict damage on their cars over the early competitive kilometres. The five specials are then repeated in the afternoon.
Timetable of events – Friday, March 6:
09.09 SS2 Panorama 1
09.46 SS3 Syagha 1
10.08 SS4 Rama 1
10.39 SS5 Bahath 1
11.15 SS6 Suwayma 1
12.08 Dead Sea service
13.02 SS7 Panorama 2
13.39 SS8 Syagha 2
14.01 SS9 Rama 2
14.32 SS10 Bahath 2
15.08 SS11 Suwayma 2
15.44 Dead Sea service
2016 Jordan Rally – positions after SS1 (unofficial @ 18.27hrs):
1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Skoda Fabia R5 3min 22.2sec
2. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Killian Duffy (IRL) Skoda Fabia R5 3min 31.7sec
3. Husam Salem (JOR)/Nancy Al-Majali (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 3min 38.7sec
4. Khalid Al-Suwaidi (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta R5 3min 40.4sec
5. Khaled Juma (JOR)/Faris Al-Tal (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII 3min 42.4sec
6. Meshari Al-Thafiri (KWT)/Emad Juma (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 3min 45.9sec
7. Rodolphe Asmar (LEB)/Joseph Matar (LEB) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 3min 49.4sec
8. Rashid Al-Nuami (QAT)/Nicola Arena (ITA) Subaru Impreza 3min 49.5sec
9. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Adel Hussein (QAT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 3min 52.6sec
10. Khalifa Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Savvas Laos (CYP) Subaru Impreza 3min 54.9sec
11. Asem Aref (JOR)/Musa Djiyerian (JOR) Renault Clio 4min 04.3sec
12. Vedat Diker (TUR)/Erdal Oral (TUR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 4min 06.5sec
13. Ihab Al-Shorafa (JOR)/Hazem Attiyat (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 4min 08.8sec
14. Rakan Al-Rashed (SAU)/Jarkko Kalliolepo (FIN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 4min 14.3sec
15. Lina Hadadi (JOR)/Barkev Shadian (JOR) Subaru Impreza 4min 20.5sec
Follow the rally live:
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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