Qatar’s 13-time FIA Middle East Rally Championship winner Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah tops the international entry for the Jordan Rally, which kick-starts the regional rally series on April 26-28.
Jordan Motorsport released the official entry list on Wednesday evening and the 11-time winner of the Jordan Rally and his French navigator Matthieu Baumel face competition from drivers from the Czech Republic, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman and the host nation. Action will be fought out over 15 special stages through the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley areas.
Al-Attiyah lists the Jordan Rally as one of his favourite events in the rallying calendar and has already stated that he would like to see the event return to the FIA World Rally Championship in the future. The Qatari will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 over the demanding gravel stages that make this event such a challenge.
Making their first appearance in the Hashemite Kingdom will be the Czech duo of Vojtĕch Štajf and Markéta Skácelová in a Ŝkoda Fabia R5. The driver has considerable experience of rallying in his native Czech Republic and also took part in the Shiraz International Rally in Iran last year and UAE national events in Fujairah and Al-Dhaid.
The battle for maximum points in the MERC 2 category is likely to be fascinating and Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri will be hoping to get his challenge underway in winning style with Qatar’s Nasser Al-Kuwari reading the notes in a Mitsubishi Lancer.
The Kuwaiti faces competition in the category from the likes of the Jordanian quartet of Ahmad Shaban, Ihab Al-Shorafa, Amir Nassif and Khalid Juma and Omani youngster Abdullah Al-Rawahi. Shaban and his brother Shadi started rallying last year and won the opening round of this season’s local rally championship.
Lebanon’s Henry Kahy is hoping to tackle a full MERC campaign in a Ŝkoda and he teams up with local navigator Musa Djiyerian, while local two-wheel drive hopes rest on the shoulders of Asem Aref and Faris Tal in the driver’s trusty Renault Clio.
Jordan Motorsport is also running a National category behind the MERC event. Amir Tareq Al-Taher, Zeid Miqdad and Salameh Al-Gammaz wheel out a trio of Mitsubishi Lancers, while Raed Al-Edwan has entered the event in an Arctic Cat.
The event gets underway with a timed super special stage of two kilometres on the shores of the Dead Sea from 16.24hrs on Thursday, April 26th.
The 36th edition of the Jordan Rally is running with the support of Kroon Oil, VESTEL, Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa, the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre managed by Hilton, Guarantee travel group, Hala and Bliss FM.
The event was held for the first time in 1981 and has been present in the international rallying calendar ever since with the exception of 1989 and 1991.