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Local drivers may surprise big guns at the Jordan Rally

By JT - Apr 29,2017 - Last updated at Apr 29,2017

AMMAN — While some of the biggest names in regional rallying start to arrive in Jordan for round two of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, a number of local crews are putting the final preparations to their bids to upset the big guns, according to the Jordan Olympic Committee News Service.

Twelve-time regional champion Nasser Al Attiyah, of Qatar, will head the cast for what promises to be an intriguing weekend of rallying from May 4-6.

But with nearly 50 per cent of the starting list containing Jordanian crews, who are familiar with the challenging routes through the Jordan Valley and they Dead Sea areas, the best they can expect is a stiff challenge from the home grown heroes.

“Obviously the spotlight is on Nasser who has won here in Jordan 10 times previously but anything can happen in rallying and the Jordan-based teams will be hoping to spring a surprise or two,” said George Khoury, clerk of the course for the FIA Jordan Rally.

Khaled Juma, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, and the return of Marouf Abu Samra, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, will give local fans something to cheer while Ihab Al Shorafa, Asem Aref and Ziad Miqdad will also be hoping home comforts can make a difference.

The Jordan Rally will get underway on Thursday with a super special stage on the banks for the Dead Sea created for fans to gain a close-up look at the cars in action. On Friday and Saturday, cars will tackle 17 stages that will push competitors to the limit.

The rally consists of more than 240 km of timed stages on many of the routes that were widely praised when Jordan last hosted the FIA World Rally Championship back in 2011.

 

The regional series consists of five rounds this year, with Lebanon, Cyprus ad Iran following Jordan. Round one in Qatar was won by home driver Rashed Al Naimi after the overwhelming favourite Attiyah was forced out with a broken radiator. Naimi is unable to compete in Jordan, opening the door for Attiyah to potentially reclaim his lead in the championship.

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