The 2021 edition of the world-renowned Jordan Rally, round two of this year’s FIA Middle East Rally Championship, gets underway at the Dead Sea on Thursday afternoon.
Record-breaking Qatari rally driver Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah will be aiming to rewrite his own history and win the event for a 14th time as he bids for a 17th regional rally title and a 78th victory on a round of the championship since 2003.
Speaking during the recce Al-Attiyah said: “We are really happy to come back here to Jordan after the rally was cancelled last year because of Covid-19. Thanks to the organisers and Prince Feisal to make this happen. It is very important for our region. Me and Matthieu are excited to be here.
“I have a lot of nice memories here. My start of racing was here in Jordan in 1989 in the Desert Challenge. We are ready and are so happy to see our friend Hamed Al-Wahaibi come back to do the race and to compete in the Middle East Championship. I hope all the drivers continue to come back each year.”
The Jordan event has attracted 13 entries in the FIA category and competitors from nine nations. They completed their two days of stage reconnaissance today (Wednesday) before cars pass through the mandatory FIA technical checks on Thursday morning.
Several drivers, including Abdullah Al-Rawahi and Hamed Al-Wahaibi of the Oman Rally Team, also managed to fit in a shakedown of their cars at the start of the week to iron out any last minute issues.
Meshari Al-Thefiri is bidding to continue his remarkable run of successes in the MERC2 category with his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. The Kuwaiti said: “Everything is excellent. We tested the car on Monday in the Panorama stage before we went to the recce. We did a 30-kilometre test to fine tune everything and the plan was to do another test today. The stages look good. The organisers have done a really good job of planning. We have won the Group N category in the last three years and, of course, we want to finish the rally without problems.”
Several of the leading drivers will attend the official pre-event press conference on the podium before the first car crosses the Dead Sea start ramp from 16.20hrs on Thursday afternoon
The competitive action will then take place over 10 gravel special stages on Friday and Saturday.
Support for the event comes from Zain Jordan, Guarantee Travel Group and Nestlé Waters Jordan.