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MERC WRC candidate event gets underway in Jordan

Jordan Rally 2006
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8

For immediate release
Thursday, May 25th, 2006

JORDAN’S NEW-LOOK WRC CANDIDATE
EVENT GETS UNDERWAY IN AMMAN

Independence Day crowds watch rally start;
Massive media interest in Jordan’s WRC bid

DEAD SEA (Jordan): The most important rally in the history of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship got underway from the Citadel in Amman on Thursday afternoon (Independence Day). An international line-up of drivers from nine countries began their challenge for honours in the Jordan Rally, running as a candidate for the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship, under the patronage of HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein, Chairman of Jordan Motorsport.

Over the next two days, competitors will tackle 18 timed gravel special stages in the Dead Sea and Rumman areas of Jordan and the event will be assessed by the FIA, the sport’s world governing body, to decide whether it is suitable for inclusion in next year’s FIA World Rally Championship. There are five other candidate events in Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Norway and Ireland and a decision is likely after an in-depth FIA World Council meeting at the beginning of July.

“Well we have worked as hard as we can over the last few months since the new-look event was first announced on New Year’s Day,” said HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, President of Jordan Motorsport. “Now we have to continue that attention to detail over the next 48 hours and make sure that we give ourselves the best possible chance of joining the world’s elite in 2007.”

While HRH Prince Feisal paid a visit to the official scrutineering and documentation at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre on Thursday morning, visiting VIPs - most notably four-times WRC champion Tommi Mäkinen, co-drivers Luis Moya and Kai Lindström and Subaru’s Paul Howarth – spent an enjoyable few minutes ‘swimming’ or ‘floating’ in the Dead Sea, much to the amusement of the world’s press.

This year’s bid by Jordan to become a round of the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship has captured the imagination of the world’s media. Around 200 journalists, photographers and television personnel arrived at the Dead Sea from as far afield as Europe and all the GCC countries to publicise the event. Agencies such as WpN, AFP, Reuters and Europics will distribute photography to their global outlets.

There are 10 visiting television crews and reports will be aired by broadcasters including Sky Sports, CNN India, LBC, Al-Jazeera Sport, Dubai Sports, Kuwait TV, Qatar TV, Jordan TV, while WRC film supplier ISC will distribute a highlight edit around the world and news clips will be sent via satellite feed for global distribution to Reuters and SN TV in London.

Tomorrow (Friday) teams will tackle 10 timed special stages in the Dead Sea area to the west of Amman. In a daily route of 447.40 kms, 144.56 kms will be competitive and the timetable begins when teams leave the Dead Sea service point, adjacent to the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, at 06.30 hrs. Three specials – Turki, Mount Nebo and Saraya Mai’n - follow at 07.08 hrs, 07.41 hrs and 08.29 hrs, before teams return to the centralised service point at 09.14 hrs.

The three graded and revised stages are repeated at 10.47 hrs, 11.20 hrs and 12.08 hrs and teams are permitted to carry out a second 20-minute service from 12.53 hrs. The afternoon’s timetable consists of two further specials, repeated twice, and split by a regrouping and service at the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea special will run at 13.27 hrs and 15.52 hrs, while the Chery Mahes test is scheduled for 14.00 hrs and 16.25 hrs. Cars then return to the overnight halt at the Dead Sea, prior to the final eight special stages on Saturday.

The three-day Jordan Rally has received valuable sponsorship from Saraya Jordan and Chery Automobile and further support from Mecca Mail, Convention Centre, the Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, Fastlink, Sawt El Ghad, Red Bull and Royal Jordanian. Jordan Motorsport has also received the full backing of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, the Tourism Board and Mawared.

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2006 Jordan Rally Press Officer, Media Centre, King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, Dead Sea, Jordan, Tel: + (962) 7 95047329, Fax: + (962) 5 3560836, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

www.jordanrally.com




Date issued: 25/05/2006

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