Jordan Rally gets underway
May 19 2022 11:44 PM
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel during the ceremonial start of the
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel during the ceremonial start of the Jordan Rally at the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman yesterday.

Agencies / Dead Sea, Jordan

The Jordan Rally was officially flagged away from the Royal Automobile Museum in Amman yesterday. 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.
Today, the competitors tackle two loops of three gravel special stages, starting with the 9.71km Yakrut test from 08:27am. Drivers then face the rigours of the demanding WRC-style Jordan River stage of 40.79km (09:49am) and a run through the 11.34km Baptism Site special (10:43ams). The three specials are repeated.

Start list
1. Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah (QAT)/Mathieu Baumel (AND)
Volkswagen Polo GTI
2. Abdullah al-Rawahi (OMN)/Ata al-Hmoud (JOR) Škoda Fabia R2 evo
3. Nasser Khalifa al-Atya (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta R5
4. Meshari al-Thefiri (KWT)/
Nasser al-Kuwari (QAT)
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
5. Asem Aref (JOR)/Ahmad Jankhout (JOR) Renault Clio
RS 182
6. Issa Abu Jamous (JOR)/
Emad Juma (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
7. Alex Feghali (LEB)/Joseph Matar (LEB) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
8. Shaker Jwihan (JOR)/Nancy al-Majali (JOR) Mitsubishi
Lancer Evo X
9. Shadi Shaban (JOR)/Samer Issa (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
11. Khalid Juma (JOR)/Tareq al-Taher (JOR) Mitsubishi
Lancer Evo X
12. Yousef Al-Dhafeeri (KWT)/Abdulrahman Shekakwe (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
14. Ihab al-Shorafa (JOR)/Yousef Juma (JOR) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
15. Mohamed al-Thefiri (KWT)/Suleiman al-Helal (KWT)
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

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