Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah tops a bumper entry for this weekend’s Jordan Rally, Round Three of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), which starts from the Martyr’s Memorial in Al-Hussein Sports City on Thursday evening.
Al-Attiyah is the defending regional champion and will also be hoping to retain the Jordan Rally title he secured last October at the Dead Sea. The Qatari has a 14-point lead in the series after securing wins in both Qatar and Kuwait and a seventh win in Jordan would give the Ford driver a 48th regional rally win and set him well on the road to a ninth MERC title.
Jordan Motorsport has attracted 30 entrants from eight countries for what has become the most popular event in the regional calendar. Purpose-built gravel special stages and the stunning backdrop of the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and the Baptism Site give this event a truly historic appeal and it was one of the most popular rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for three years with top drivers and media alike.
Eleven Jordanian entrants join Al-Attiyah and three other drivers from Qatar, seven from the UAE, three from Lebanon, two from Kuwait and one from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Italy on the provisional list.
Among those hoping to dethrone the Qatari are the 2004 regional champion Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi, current WRC 2 front-runner Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari – fresh from confirming a stunning category win in the Rally of Argentina last weekend – and the rapid Lebanese driver Roger Feghali.
Teams carry out their first day of authorised reconnaissance of the special stages in the Dead Sea area on Tuesday morning before completing their ‘recce’ on Wednesday.
The official pre-event press conference will take place at 6pm on Wednesday evening. Several leading drivers will join event officials, sponsors and the media at the conference.