Jordan Rally's Dead Sea service park become a hive of activity in build-up to Easter weekend

Jordan Rally's Dead Sea service park become a hive of activity in build-up to Easter weekend

30.03.2010: · Lebanon’s Georgiou begins 2010 campaign at Dead Sea · Record number of S2000 cars on Jordan Rally entry · Qatar’s Nada Zaidan and Jordan’s Al-Batikhi fly the female flag

·         Lebanon’s Georgiou begins 2010 campaign at Dead Sea
·         Record number of S2000 cars on Jordan Rally entry
·         Qatar’s Nada Zaidan and Jordan’s Al-Batikhi fly the female flag
 

JORDAN RALLY, April 1st-3rd, 2010
2010 FIA World Rally Championship, round 3
2010 FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 3





Jordanian Amjad Farrah flies the host nation’s flag in this weekend’s Jordan Rally


The Jordan Rally’s Dead Sea service park was a hive of activity on Tuesday afternoon, as leading teams completed their timed reconnaissance and mechanics and team management carried out last-minute preparations for the third rounds of the FIA World and Middle East Rally Championships. 
 
Jordan has attracted an impressive entry, the number bolstered by the fact that the event is also a round of the regional rally series. There are a record 10 Super 2000 cars on the entry list for the WRC and two further cars entered in the MERC category, meaning S2000 cars outnumber World Rally Cars (10) for the first time.
 
The provisional 65-car field features a cross section of ages and nationalities, including 17-year-old Estonian Karl Kruuda in a two-wheel drive Suzuki Swift and Qatari female driver Nada Zaidan: she started driving in the regional championship in 2004 before representing the State of Qatar in the sport of archery at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
 
Zaidan returned to the driving seat in her home rally in January and wheels out a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in the WRC category in Jordan with local navigator Nadia Shnoudeh.
 
The host nation’s Abir Al-Batikhi is the second female driver on the entry list – Rana Tabello co-drives for the Amman-based Subaru Impreza driver. “I am proud to be representing my country in this event and competing in the same field as some of the most famous drivers in the world,” enthused Al-Batikhi.
 
Lebanon’s Nicholai Georgiou won the Middle East’s section of last year’s Pirelli Star Driver competition and the London-based youngster is using the Jordan Rally as a shakedown for the forthcoming Rally Turkey. He has tackled the MERC round in Jordan on several occasions, but is not registered for the series this year.
 
Sweden’s Patrik Flodin is also present on the entry list for the FIA Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) category, which is led by Portugal’s Armindo Araújo after two rounds in Sweden and Mexico. Flodin will drive for the Russian Uspenskiy team in Jordan and will be chasing his fifth victory of a successful season so far; the Swede has already taken two wins in his own country and triumphed in Russia and in the north of China.
 
Petter Solberg is the sole Priority 2 driver in the WRC field. The Norwegian achieved a superb podium finish in Mexico with his privately-run Citroën C4 WRC, but he will use a different car in which Sébastien Loeb won two events in 2007 over the three days of gravel stages. Petter has also acquired a state-of-the-art service van from the Renault F1 team to support his revitalised WRC challenge.
 
Loeb, Petter and Henning Solberg and M-Sport’s Malcolm Wilson will be joined by Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Georgiou at the pre-event press conference in the King Hussein Ben Talal Convention Centre on Wednesday. Leading drivers from the FIA Middle East Rally Championship will attend a second conference shortly after the main FIA press reception, with joint championship leaders, Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani, expected to attend.
 
WRC drivers will spend time on the traditional shakedown stage finalising suspension and engine set-ups for the opening special stages on Wednesday morning, before the three-day event gets underway with a ceremonial start in the historic Roman city of Jerash from 11.00hrs on Thursday.
 

- WILLY WEYENS-  also photo

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30.03.2010 / MaP

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