MERC Qatar's Al-Attiyah to debut new Ford Fiesta R5 Evo2 in Jordan
2017 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 2
For immediate release
Monday, May 1st, 2017
QATAR’S AL-ATTIYAH TO DEBUT NEW FORD FIESTA R5 EVO2 IN JORDAN RALLY
· Saudi Arabia’s Al-Rashed to run Finnish-prepared Mitsubishi in MERC2
DEAD SEA (JORDAN): Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah will debut his new Ford Fiesta R5 Evo 2 at this week’s FIA Jordan Rally, the second round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), taking place on Thursday through to Saturday (May 4-6).
The Qatari, who is bidding for a record-breaking 11th victory in the Hashemite Kingdom’s premier motor sporting event, realises the importance of achieving a top finish at the Dead Sea after failing to finish the opening round of the series in Qatar.
Autotek Motorsport will run the car for the winner of 63 MERC rallies and team principal Ken Skidmore is relishing the challenge of continuing the Qatari’s winning streak at the lowest place on earth.
“Nasser will use the new car, it’s one of only eight built so far,” said Skidmore. “The main difference between the R5 and the RRC (Regional Rally Car) is that the R5 has a 32mm air restrictor rather than the 30mm on the RRC car. I guess the RRC is a detuned World Rally Car and is much stronger component wise.
“On smooth surfaces, we expect the R5 cars to be faster than the RRC but, of course, when it gets rough, or if the driver slips off the road, then the R5 is more fragile. The car has only recently been homologated by the FIA.”
Meanwhile, a Finnish team will look after a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X for the talented young Saudi Arabian driver Rakan Al-Rashed. Running under the management of former top Finnish star Jussi Vällimäki, the Lancer has been re-prepared by the team at the Dead Sea over the last few days and Al-Rashed will test for the first time today (Monday) with Finnish navigator Jarkko Kalliolepo.
Vällimäki and his crew, who include chief mechanic Risto Tuominen - a five-time winner of the Finnish Rally Championship with Jouko Puhakka – found time to visit the Dead Sea and enjoy some relaxation time in between working on the Mitsubishi.
“We have been working on the car and rebuilding it since last Wednesday at the Dead Sea,” said Vällimäki. “Rakan is looking forward to pushing for the win in MERC 2 and is aiming for the podium. He came to the Arctic Rally in January. I guess that’s very different to the dry, dusty stages we have here at the Dead Sea.”
Al-Rashed finished 49th on his rallying debut on ice in Finland and will be hoping to reach the finish in Jordan on this occasion after an accident forced him out on the final day last year. The Saudi’s best results in 2016 were sixth overall in Kuwait and 34th overall in Finland’s 300 Lakes Rally.
The event gets underway with a new timed super special stage on the shores of the Dead Sea on Thursday.
Neil Perkins, News and Information Officer, 2017 Jordan Rally, Jordan Rally Media Service, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@googlemail.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @LordPerkins. Facebook Group: MERC
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