Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, the most successful driver in the history of Middle East motor sport, tops the entry for next weekend’s Jordan Rally, round two of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
The current series leader and a 13-time winner of the Jordan event heads to the Hashemite Kingdom fresh from securing a recent narrow victory at the Andalucia Rally in Spain. On this occasion he and French co-driver Matthieu Baumel return to a trusty Volkswagen Polo GTi, run on regional Middle Eastern rallies by Autotek Motorsport.
Of the 13 entrants registered for the FIA category, Al-Attiyah faces competition from three Rally2 drivers. His cousin and former FIA vice-president Nasser Khalifa Al-Atya teams up with Nasser’s former navigator Giovanni Bernacchini to drive a Ford Fiesta and the event sees the return of Hamed Al-Wahaibi (Škoda Fabia) in a two-car team from Oman with young Abdullah Al-Rawahi driving another Ford Fiesta.
Six crews have registered to compete in Group NR4 to chase points in the MERC2 category. Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri is the multiple defending champion and starts as the favourite to continue his successes with a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.
Standing in his way will be the Jordanian drivers, Shabi Shaban and Ihab Al-Shourafa, Lebanese youngster Alex El-Feghali and fellow Lebanese drivers, Ahmed Khaled and Shadi El-Fakih.
Henry Kahy returns to try and continue his remarkable run of successes in a two-wheel-drive car in the MERC 3 section. He teams up with Carlos Hanna in his trusty Škoda. Local driver Asem Aref is also entered in a little Renault Clio RS.
Rounding off the entry is the talented Saudi off-road specialist Saleh Al-Saif at the wheel of a Can-Am Maverick X3. FIA T4 cars are permitted to tackle gravel rounds of the regional rally series this season and Al-Saif finished sixth overall at the opening round in Qatar and currently leads the championship category.
This year’s rally is based at the Movenpick Resort and Spa Dead Sea, where all necessary Covid-19 protocols will apply, including proof of negative tests (48-hour validity) before any access is given to the service park area.