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MERC Twelve Jordanian teams in bumper entry for Jordan Rally 2007

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

For immediate release
Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

TWELVE JORDANIAN TEAMS IN RECORD-BREAKING 42-CAR ENTRY FOR JORDAN RALLY

• World Rally Radio set for ground-breaking live coverage of Jordan Rally 2007
• Shakedown set to fire into life on Wednesday afternoon in Dead Sea area
• Around 200 of the world’s press descend upon Dead Sea for Jordan Rally

DEAD SEA (Jordan): A record-breaking 42 cars will tackle 18 timed gravel special stages in this weekend’s Jordan Rally, round four of the increasingly-popular FIA Middle East Rally Championship. The event gets underway with a ceremonial start at 18.00hrs close to the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque in Amman on Thursday afternoon.

The largest entry ever received for the Jordan Rally includes all this year’s registered championship contenders and drivers from Jordan, Qatar, UAE, Lebanon, Austria, Cyprus, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. Co-drivers on the entry list represent the UK, Jordan, Italy, Lebanon, Cyprus, Kuwait, Germany, France, Qatar and the UAE and include the well known French WRC navigator Denis Giraudet, who sits alongside Cypriot Spyros Pavlides in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

Jordan will be represented by no less than 12 teams, including three female drivers, Nancy Al-Majali, Abir Batikhi and Tala Al-Shawa. Leading the home contingent will be FIA Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC) newcomer Amjad Farrah and his Italian co-driver Nicola Arena, who is currently living in Amman.

Farrah is seeded at three and holds a similar position in the regional championship after as many rounds in Qatar, Oman and Cyprus. He suffered the disappointment of retiring from last weekend’s Rally of Argentina – his P-WRC debut – with turbo-related problems, but is determined to redress the balance at the Dead Sea and attempt to win his home event for the second time. In 2004, Amjad created history by becoming the first Jordanian driver ever to win a round of the FIA regional series.

Multiple Jordan national champion Faris Bustami also has a consistent record on his home international and is seeded at seven with co-driver Burhan Abu Quora in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII. Other leading Jordanian entrants include Ala Khalifeh and Mazan Tantash.

This year’s Jordan Rally will be covered extensively by World Rally Radio for the first time and interviews and live reports will be transmitted around the world via www.wrc.com and www.jordanrally.com. A team of reporters, including Colin Clark, Greg Strange and Peter Silberberg, will be stationed at stage finishes, in service parks and in the media centre at the Dead Sea Hall in the King Hussein Ben Talal Convention Centre to keep the global rally audience and World Championship fraternity abreast with developments at the lowest point in earth. Silberberg has been stationed in Amman for the last week carrying out interviews that are already featured on the website.

“I am very excited to be coming to Jordan for the first time,” said World Rally Radio’s managing director Greg Strange. “We are anxious to tell people about Jordan and show people what a vibrant and exciting place it is. Next year Jordan will be in the WRC for the first time and this gives us a great opportunity to experience the event in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the WRC entourage next year.”

Tomorrow (Wednesday) marks the final day of recce for the record-breaking 42 teams taking part in this year’s Jordan Rally, before cars are permitted to tackle the ‘wild’ Wednesday shakedown stage, a mere six kilometres from rally headquarters. The 2.3km shakedown will take place on the back road between the Dead Sea and Sweimeh, two kilometres from the hotel army checkpoint en route to Madaba. Meanwhile, the pre-event press conference will take place later on Wednesday evening.

Two days of action are planned on Friday and Saturday and event officials have laid on a complimentary bus service to ferry spectators from the 7th Circle in Amman to the special stages.

Over 200 accredited journalists, photographers and television personnel will publicise this ground-breaking Jordan Rally, which breaks into the prestigious FIA World Rally Championship in March 2008. Film crews from Kuwait, Dubai, Jordan, Qatar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Sky Sports in the UK have been joined by numerous agency and newspaper writers from all over the Middle East and specialist motoring writers and photographers from as far afield as the UK.

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) 79 5171401, Fax: + (962) 5 35 602 65, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com or Atala Abusaleh, Arabic Editor, Tel: + (962) 79 5230138
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases)

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




Date issued: 08/05/2007

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