MERC Jordan Rally gets underway in Amman on Thursday evening
Jordan Rally 2007
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8
FIA World Rally Championship, official round in 2008
For immediate release
Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
JORDAN RALLY GETS UNDERWAY IN AMMAN ON THURSDAY EVENING
Former WRC champion Petter Solberg soaks up the Jordanian atmosphere;
Leading drivers attend pre-event press conference at Dead Sea headquarters;
Rally officials lay on free bus service for spectators in Amman to visit stages
DEAD SEA (Jordan): The Jordan Rally 2007 gets underway with a spectacular ceremonial start close to the King Hussein Ben Talal Mosque in downtown Amman from 18.00hrs on Thursday evening.
Five of the leading FIA Middle East Rally Championship entrants were scheduled to join Jordan Rally clerk of the course Ziad Louza at the official pre-event press conference at the King Hussein Ben Talal Conventional Centre on Wednesday evening.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah was invited to the press conference, along with arch championship rival Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, Kuwaiti front-runner Mufeed Mubarak, Cypriot Andreas Tsouloftas and Jordan’s Amjad Farrah, winner of the Jordan Rally in 2004.
Drivers have now completed two days of reconnaissance of the 18 timed special stages in the Mount Nebo and Dead Sea areas and several VIPs from the FIA World Rally Championship have arrived at the Dead Sea, including two leading rally stars.
Subaru World Rally Team star Petter Solberg jetted into Amman on Tuesday afternoon after taking part in last weekend’s Rally of Argentina. The Norwegian first came to the region to take part in the Rally of Lebanon in a privately-entered Toyota in 1998 and that performance on slippery Lebanese asphalt against seasoned championship regulars attracted the attention of none other than Ford and M-Sport team manager Malcolm Wilson. Solberg has since won 13 WRC rallies.
Over the last 12 years, the 33-year-old Norwegian has reached superstar status in the WRC. He won the world title in 2003 and finished second overall in 2002, 2004 and 2005. He is one of the fastest drivers in the world and relished the chance to visit Jordan for the first time with Welsh co-driver and long-time rally partner Philip Mills.
Solberg took his first WRC podium with second place in the 2001 Acropolis Rally in Greece and clinched a maiden WRC victory in Wales Rally GB the following year with Subaru. The Norwegian sealed four wins in 2003 in Cyprus, Australia, Corsica – his first on tarmac – and Wales and added victories in New Zealand, Greece, Japan, Wales and Sardinia to his tally in 2004. Victories followed in Sweden, Mexico and Wales in 2005, but the Norwegian hasn’t won a WRC event since his last UK success.
“It’s great to be back in Jordan after all these years,” recalls co-driver Mills, who won the world title with Solberg in 2003 and who co-drove for the then HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan back in the 1990s. “I had some enjoyable times in the Middle East with Ford, although life has changed a lot over the years. Petter and I will have a chance to take a good look at the special stages over the next couple of days and this could be beneficial when Jordan enters the WRC next March.”
Meanwhile, rally officials in Amman have laid on a courtesy shuttle bus service to ferry rally fans from Amman to the Jordan Rally service park on the banks of the Dead Sea. The shuttle will leave from a stop near the Royal Jordanian terminal at the 7th Circle every two hours on Friday and Saturday from 07.00hrs.
The 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 worked 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 Ben 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)