Jordan International Rally- GIRL POWER SET TO SPICE UP RECORD ENTRY FIELD

24.04.2005: Jordan International Rally- GIRL POWER SET TO SPICE UP RECORD ENTRY FIELD

FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 5 of 9 

Amman, Jordan: As 40 leading teams from across the Middle East prepare for the fifth round of the FIA Middle East Championship from May 5-7 in Jordan, awaiting them will be two local drivers more determined than most to make their mark on the event.

As the entry list closed last night, it showed that Jordan will be hosting the biggest field of the season to date and among the huge number of starters will be two Jordanian women confident of upsetting rallying's more established stars and striking a note for equality within the sport at the same time.

Abir Batikhi is a relative newcomer to the scene having graduated from carting, hill climbs and speed tests into rallying back in 2002, but she has made a massive impact to become recognized as one of the best Jordanian drivers.

"Now when I go into races I no longer look at just trying to win the ladies title but I look at beating some of the stronger male drivers as well," she said. "I love this sport, it is in my blood. I am very passionate and competitive and always want to achieve good results."

Regular top 10 finishes in Speed Tests encouraged Abir to make the step up to the rallying circuit and she has not looked back since. 2005 marks her most serious campaign to date and she is a part of the well organised Al Baddad team and behind the wheel of an Abu Khader Group-sponsored Opel Corsa GSi.

Despite lacking the power of the Group N cars, Abir believes that not only the Super 1600 title could be within her reach but also a credible finish overall.

"The stages, especially on Day Two, are a lot more technical and twisty so it will be the clever drivers who get the best finishes and not necessarily the most powerful cars," she said. Abir finished fifth overall in the season's first National Rally last month.

Also looking to make an impact on home soil will be Nancy Majali who has become a familiar face on the regional series. While Abir is yet to confirm her co-driver, Nancy will be one half of an all-female team with Nadia Shnoudeh reading the pacenotes at her side.

The Jordanian pair will be joined in the field by the impressive German, Edith Weiss, who will start as favourite for the ladies title in a more powerful Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII.

The 2005 Jordan Rally will be launched with a spectacular ceremonial start in Abdoun from 3pm on May 5. Nineteen special stages will then be held over two days before reaching a colourful climax in Hussein Gardens on May 7th.

The event has also received a boost with support from the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Greater Amman Municipality, Higher Council for Youth, Royal Jordanian and Jordan Tourism Board while Power Horse (Official Energy Drink), Chery International (Official Car), Marriott (Official Hotel), Fast Link (Official Network Provider) are confirmed as sponsors.

www.jordan-motorsport.com

by Neil Perkins

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/jordan-international-rally-fia-middle-east-rally-championship---1810.html

24.04.2005 / MaP

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