07 Apr 08
An insider's guide to Jordan
British expat, author and rally fanatic David Williams hails from Mid Wales but has lived in Jordan for the past four years: Here he offers an insider's guide into what to expect if you are heading his way...
It is difficult how to best explain Jordan but all I can say is that if you are heading here for the Jordan Rally, you are in for one heck of an experience! Quite simply put, Jordan is one of the world's best kept secrets and the World Rally Championship will lift the lid on a truly unique country. In the next few paragraphs I will try to encapsulate what the Kingdom has to offer while at the same time, blow away all those popular misconceptions. So here goes....
Jordan has caught a severe case of WRC fever. Since 30 days to go, every newspaper has carried at least a daily full page on our forthcoming first WRC event while the main TV station - Jordan TV - has the logo permanently placed on the corner of its screen counting down to the big day. 500,000 cars stickers have been produced and sticker spotting has become the new national pastime. God knows what it will be like when Seb, Petter and co. roll into town!
The sport of kings
Indeed. Jordan's passion for rallying stems from the very top. The late King Hussein was one of its early pioneers and the current King Abdullah II was a driver of some caliber during the 1980's and 90's. His brother, HRH Prince Feisal, is the driving force for motorsport and has spearheaded Jordan's bid to become a part of the WRC. Don't be surprised to see many members of the royal family mingling with the punters on the stages and at the service park. Even Queen Rania was a visitor to last year's event!
So what about the rally?
Well, it will certainly be unique but won't be a one-off. The event is 90 per cent different to what it was when Jordan announced its WRC intentions just three years back. Over 10 million dollars have been invested and while the event will still be a little rough around the edges, I am sure it will immediately become one of the world's truly great rallies. Give it five years and this will be the premier event of the world I am sure.
The stages run through stunning locations. From the lowest point on earth at the Dead Sea to places of biblical interest like the baptism site of Jesus Christ and the place where Moses looked over the Promised Land (Mount Nebo), Jordan will provide a touristic treat hand-in-hand with hardcore rally action.