Stage summaries with Subaru's Stéphane Prévot

24.04.2008: Stage summaries with Subaru's Stéphane Prévot

The Jordanian stages are new to everyone as this is the first time the event has been run in the WRC

It’s a strange surface in Rally Jordan, almost like tarmac it’s so hard but not with the grip of tarmac. It’s not going to clean very fast, and I think will be dirty like gravel for a long time. It’s so hard, I mean it’s like concrete, yet it’s still quite slippery.

SS1 / SS5 Suwayma (13.03km)

The beginning of the opening stage is really, really fast. It’s quite twisty and narrow, but really fast for the first eight kilometres. There’s one tricky jump on a right bend, then for the last five kilometres it’s much more square.

There are lots of long straights followed by 90 degree corners. Most of the straights are a few hundred kilometres, but the longest is 1.4km. It’s just flat out in sixth all the way!

SS2 / SS6 Mahes (20.00km)

Along with SS17 this is the trickiest stage of the rally because it’s fast, narrow and twisty but full of blind corners. The route is very undulating and there are lots of crests that mean, unlike somewhere like Finland, you can’t see or read the road ahead. It’s hard to find the line on the road, so you’re sort of driving blind. It’s even more important to be precise with the notes here.

SS3 / SS7 Mount Nebo (11.10km)

The third stage is a bit slower with more long corners and not as twisty. There is a hairpin left two kilometres before the end of the stage, after which the character of the stage changes and becomes faster and more undulating, and more similar to the first two stages of the day.

SS4 / SS8 Mai’n (13.46km)

Stage four shares the same character as stage three with slower and quite long corners. It’s quite like Sardinia in the way the stage feels. The area is very open and what you’d expect of a desert stage – no trees, just wide, open sandy tracks.

It was very hot on this section on the recce, and by the time we run this first the temperature will really start to be getting high as we approach midday.

SS9 / SS13 Turki (14.13km)

Even narrower than other stages, this is a really difficult opener to the second day. It’s very fast, and there is a downhill section for about three kilometres which is particularly quick and flowing.

As with stages three and four, the crests in the stage make it hard to pick out the line and read the road ahead. The downhill stage is quite dangerous as it comes to a tight corner at the bottom which is unsighted. It’s another one for trusting in the notes and being very precise.

SS10 / SS14 Erak Elamir (12.47km)

Again we go back to longer corners, and while this stage is similar to SS9 it is flatter which means we can find our line more easily. It’s a slightly less tricky stage because of this, and is more typical of what you might expect a desert stage to be – flat, dry, barren and very open.

SS11 / SS15 Shuna (15.19km)

The reverse of stage two, this is an immensely tricky stage because of the combination of speed, blind crests and narrow, twisty roads.

Even though we will have run SS2 before, it doesn’t really help us as when you drive in the opposite direction, everything changes. Visual markers change, and predicting the line over the crests is totally different.

SS12 / SS16 Baptism Site (13.13km)

This stage is the reverse of the opening Suwayma stage, and so we’ll have driven it before, but there are a few differences. The jump is even trickier as you cannot approach it wide because there are rocks in the road.

Also the flying finish is quite hard as you’re coming really, really fast into a 90 degree right bend and it’s lined with small trees so it’s difficult to see. It’s a very tricky stage.

SS17 / SS20 Kafrain (16.49km)

Unusually, day three is the longest of the rally and it’s also the hardest and most demanding. The day’s opening stage is a mixture of SS2 and SS11 so it has the same character with blind crests and fast, narrow routes. It sounds strange, but it’s very difficult to know where you are through the stage so you really, really need to rely on the pace notes.

SS18 / SS21 Wadi Shueib (9.18km)

Wadi Shueib is the shortest of the event but probably the busiest with the notes. It’s much more twisty and high in the mountains, so there are big drops to avoid. It’s quite similar to Cyprus, although not as slow, and its character is quite different as it takes out of the desert.

SS19 / SS22 Jordan River (41.45km)

The final stage is completely different to anything else we see in this rally. It’s very long, runs between trees and is quite green the whole way through. The stage is medium-fast I’d say, and we have a straight, then a corner, then a straight and so on. It’s quite flowing though.

The surface is full of stones and quite loose, and for sure it’s not an advantage there to be first on the road, although it’s the last day so if you are leading, ok it’s obviously not so bad!

When we run this stage for the second time, it’ll be at the hottest time of the day, and it’s the end of the rally so you’ll be tired anyway, so it will be a very tough one to end on.

 -swrt-

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24.04.2008 / MaP

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