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MERC Nicky Grist backs Jordan to make WRC impact

2005 Jordan International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 5 of 9

For immediate release
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

GRIST BACKS JORDAN TO MAKE WRC IMPACT

Amman (Jordan): Former FIA World Rally Championship co-driver Nicky Grist has given Jordan’s WRC ambitions a massive boost following a week’s fact-finding tour of the Hashemite Kingdom this week.

Grist, who read the pacenotes for Colin McRae until 2002, was invited to Jordan by HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein, Chairman of the Board for Jordan Motorsport, which is spearheading the country’s hopes of joining the World Rally Championship.

The Welshman spent time with the leading organisers of the Jordan Rally, which will come under FIA scrutiny from May 5-7, and provided valuable advice on how the leading round on the FIA Middle East Championship can make the step up to world-class status.

~It’s been a cracking week and I have been very impressed with the expertise that is evident here in Jordan,~ said the 43 year-old. ~The tradition and passion that rallying enjoys here is unrivalled. I have seen this in young children right up to His Highness Prince Feisal who is making a fantastic personal effort in leading Jordan forward.

~Jordan can offer something new and unique to the WRC. The Dead Sea, Desert, Mountain and Forest offer a diverse range of stages and it is important that as much of Jordan’s natural beauty and hospitality can also be incorporated into the rally.

~From what I have been able to see in the short time that I have been here is that Jordan is more than capable of making the step up to WRC. There are areas that need to be worked on but there is leadership from the royal family, support from the Government and an organizing committee in place determined to make this happen.~

Grist is a well-known television rally commentator and is hoping to continue a relationship with Jordan which announced its WRC hopes at a glittering launch in Monte Carlo back in January. He also provided tips to young Jordanian drivers during his visit.

~Having someone of Nicky’s stature to agree to come and take a look at our preparations is a huge boost to all of us involved in organizing this year’s event,~ said Tarek Tabbaa, Chairman of the Organising Committee for Jordan Rally 2005.

~We have made a number of improvements to this year’s event in our efforts to bring it up to FIA WRC standards and it was interesting to hear the views of someone like Nicky who has competed in the Championship for so many years.~

Grist joined the professional ranks of co-driving in 1990 before having his big break in 1993 when he partnered top driver Juha Kankkunen. He then switched to World Champion McRae and enjoyed 17 victories with the Scotsman.

Plans for the Jordan Rally are now in full swing. The 2004 event received a glowing report from the FIA observer and it prompted Jordan to make its intentions known that it wants to join the WRC calendar.

Ends

For further media information:
David Williams in Jordan, Mobile: + 962 796 548882 and E-mail: DWilliams@rhc.jo
or Neil Perkins in Europe, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 and E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com

Date issued: 02/03/2005

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