Jordan Rally gets underway

[21-05-2022 01:07 PM]

Ammon News - The Jordan Rally was officially flagged away from the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman. Twenty-two cars eventually passed technical checks, with 15 teams eligible for the fourth round of the 2022 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) and a further six taking part in a Jordan national status event running behind the main rally.

Several team members, including Qatari legend Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah, attended the official FIA pre-event press conference on the start podium shortly before the ceremonial start formalities.

Al-Attiyah has won the regional title on 17 occasions and amassed 80 MERC event wins, including 14 in the Hashemite Kingdom. While French legend Sebastien Loeb bids for his 81st WRC win at this weekend’s Rally of Portugal, al-Attiyah will be aiming for a similar feat in the MERC over 4000 kilometres away at the lowest point on earth. Away from traditional special stage rallies, both drivers are now great rivals in the new FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.

Partnered by Andorra-based navigator Mathieu Baumel at the wheel of an Autotek Volkswagen Polo GTi, the Qatari currently holds a 50-point MERC series lead over Jordanian driver Issa Abu Jamous, with the latter switching his focus to defending a sizeable lead in the MERC2 category. Baumel was forced to miss the opening round in Oman through illness and the Frenchman only leads the Co-Drivers’ Championship by 11 points from Emad Juma as a result.

Standing in the way of al-Attiyah achieving his goal will be two rivals in similar R5 machines and a further 23 entrants across the various classes and categories. Oman’s Abdullah al-Rawahi teams up with local co-driver Ata al-Hmoud to drive his Skoda Fabia R2 evo, while al-Attiyah’s cousin Nasser Khalifa al-Atya will be partnered by Italian navigator Giovanni Bernacchini in a Ford Fiesta R5. Al-Rawahi and al-Atya currently hold third and fourth places in the Drivers’ Championship, with the former looking to bounce back from a heavy landing that damage his Fabia’s radiator and caused engine damage at the last event in Kuwait.

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