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MERC Guests from the WRC world and Jordan Rally competitors arrive in Amman

Jordan Rally 2007
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8
FIA World Rally Championship, official round in 2008

For immediate release
Monday, May 7th, 2007

WRC GUESTS, OFFICIALS AND JORDAN RALLY COMPETITORS ARRIVE IN AMMAN

• Subaru’s Solberg and Mills and Spaniards Sordo, Marti and Pons arrive in Amman
• MERC competitors begin reconnaissance for three-day Jordan Rally bonanza
• Vibrant atmosphere builds at rally headquarters on the banks of the Dead Sea

DEAD SEA (Jordan): Officials, regional rally teams, VIPs and several competitors from the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) have begun to arrive in Amman in preparation for this weekend’s Jordan Rally, round four of the 2007 FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

The event is based at the King Hussein Bin Talal Conventional Centre on the baking shores of the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth – and gets underway with a ceremonial start from 18.00hrs onwards on Thursday, May 10th at the Al Hussein Gardens in the heart of Amman, close to the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque.

Several well known faces from the WRC have arrived in Amman, direct from competing in the Rally of Argentina in South America last weekend. Subaru World Rally Team driver Petter Solberg, from Norway, will be joined at the Dead Sea by Welsh co-driver Philip Mills.

Solberg and Mills are former FIA World Rally Champions, although Mills has been to Jordan before and is making his first visit to the Hashemite Kingdom for over 10 years, since he co-drove for His Majesty King Abdullah Bin-Hussein II during the 1996 Jordan Rally in a works Ford Escort. That event was the King’s final appearance in rallying following a successful career, which spawned two national championship titles.

Solberg and Mills will use this opportunity to make a tour of Jordan’s state-of-the-art rally headquarters, which will host the 2007 World Economic Forum next weekend. The pair will also view Jordan’s highly-acclaimed rally operation, sample traditional Arabic hospitality and see for themselves the testing gravel roads that may be used in March 2008 when Jordan creates history by hosting the Middle East’s first ever WRC rally.

The pair will be joined at the Dead Sea by Citroën team members Dani Sordo and Marc Marti and Xavier Pons and Xavier Amigo. Also making the trip to check out what lies in wait in around 10 months’ time are Citroën team management member Sven Smeets, BP Ford World Rally Team co-ordinator John Millington and several senior FIA officials.

“There is a real buzz of expectation building around the headquarters,” said clerk of the course Ziad Louza. “The early feedback we have received from our guests has been very encouraging and that bodes well as we continue our preparations for the FIA World Rally Championship in 2008.”

Competitors taking part in this year’s rally include Qatar’s defending champion Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and the UAE’s former champion Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi. They are permitted to carry out a full recce of the special stages tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, before spectators will be treated to the first ever WRC-type shakedown stage between 16.00hrs and 19.00hrs on Wednesday afternoon.

The shakedown is an integral part of the timetable on traditional WRC events and Jordan Rally officials have arranged a similar test this year to enable teams from as far afield as the UK and Austria to join FIA Middle East Rally championship regulars with the opportunity to set up their cars before the first special stage fires into life on Friday morning.

The 2.3km shakedown stage will take place on the back road between the Dead Sea and Sweimeh, two kilometres from the hotel army checkpoint en route to Madaba.

The three-day Jordan Rally has received valuable sponsorship from many companies and organisations in both the public and private sectors, including Jordinvest, Chinese car brand Chery, Capital Bank, Marriott Hotels, the King Hussein Ben Talal Convention Centre, Fastlink, Sawt Al Ghad and Riyadah.

Both the Ministry of Housing and Public Works have also worked tirelessly on the special stages and support from the Ministry of Tourism, Jordan Tourist Board and the Greater Amman Municipality and Higher Council of Youth has been crucial.

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2007 Jordan Rally Media Office Manager, Media Centre, King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, Dead Sea, Jordan, Tel: + (962) 7 95171401, UK Mobile: + 44 7831 123153 E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

www.jordanrally.com
www.merc-fia.com

Date issued: 07/05/2007

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