07 Apr 08
The entry list published by organisers of the Jordan Rally shows 55 starters for round five of the 2008 World Rally Championship.
Championship leader Sebastien Loeb heads the field for Jordan’s first entry onto the FIA World Rally Championship which starts on April 24. The record breaking Frenchman, who won his 39th WRC rally on the last round in Argentina, is the top seeded driver from a line-up that represents 27 nationalities.
The rally boasts 16 WRC class entries including drivers from each of the six teams contesting this year’s manufacturers’ competition. Total Citroen, Suzuki, Subaru and the Munchi’s Ford teams will enter the same two car squads as they did on the previous round in Argentina but there are three cars each for the BP Ford Abu-Dhabi and Stobart VK M-Sport outfits.
Matthew Wilson, Gigi Gall and Henning Solberg will each drive Ford Focus RS WRCs for the Stobart team, with Galli and Solberg eligible to score manufacturers’ points. While after missing the rallies in Mexico and Argentina, the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is back alongside points nominated Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala at the works Ford team.
The man who finished fourth Argentina, Conrad Rautenbach, and Estonia’s Urmo Aava will each tackle the event in privately run Citroen C4 WRCs.
Ten Jordanian teams have entered, including 2004 Jordan Rally champion Amjad Farrah who is competing this year on the Production WRC series. Jordan’s Abir Batikhi is the only woman in the start line-up and could make history as the first Arab woman to compete in the WRC.
“It is a world class field that will be competing in a world class event,” said HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, Chairman of Jordan Motorsport which manages and organises the event. “The magic of rallying is that our very own competitors here in Jordan will be rubbing shoulders with the very best like Sebastien Loeb so it will be a memorable occasion for us all.”
The Jordan Rally is the second of seven rounds that count towards the FIA Junior World Rally Championship and the rally has attracted 16 entries in the 1600cc two-wheel drive category. After a sensational series debut in Mexico, the championship leader Sebastien Ogier will start his second J-WRC rally in Jordan in the FFSA backed Citroen C2. Also driving in Jordan will be the Suzuki drivers Jaan Molder and Michal Kosciuszko who are the second and third in the contest.
The event will start with an opening ceremony on Thursday 24 April, followed by three days of challenging competition on routes that are close to the Dead Sea and through the Jordan Valley.