Van Merksteijn Motorsport ready for WRC Jordan Rally despite logistical troubles
Van Merksteijn Motorsport will take part in this week’s WRC Jordan Rally, the fourth rally on the WRC calendar and the second event for Peter van Merksteijn junior in 2011. A unique event which will be part of the World rally Championship season for the third time and is held at the deepest dry place on earth, over 400 meters below sea level.
After the disappointment of the Rally Portugal when Peter jr. had to stand by and watch most of Saturday after he was forced to stop the Citroën DS3 WRC, the Dutch rally driver is optimistic to start his second rally of the season with the new World rally Car by the French brand.
The Jordan rally is one of the most compact events on this year’s WRC calendar and is set to many historic sites in the Dead Sea area. Jerash, one of the largest and best preserved ancient Roman remains in the world will be the background for the ceremonial start of the rally. Other historic places along the rally route will be the alleged Baptist site of Jesus Christ and Mount Nebo where Moses was buried.
But Jordan Rally is also one of the most difficult events on this year’s WRC calendar. It is a real desert rally and the gravel roads are littered with big, sharp rocks which will endure the Michelin tyres to the extreme. Except for the high risk of punctures, the high temperature will also have a big influence on both the drivers and their equipment.
The start of the WRC Jordan Rally was disputed for a long time but at the very latest moment it was decided to divert the transport of equipment and the cars through Israel. Due to political unrest in Syria, it was not safe for the truck drivers with all WRC equipment having through Syria and the route was altered.
These logistical changes are causing new problems for the teams at the start of the rally. The boat carrying all trucks is delayed by at least two days and will probably not arrive in Israel until Tuesday evening. In this shipment are besides the rally cars also other equipment like tools, spare parts, technical facilities and the cars for the reconnaissance which is due to start Tuesday morning. “It is the first time that I will start in the Jordan Rally and because of all the rocks along the stages, a good reconnaissance is very important in this rally” according to Peter van Merksteijn junior.
The Jordan Rally is the only WRC event which is held in the Middle East and as a result will have an altered time schedule. The original schedule planned to have the first team to start on Thursday at 7 o’clock from the service park along the Dead Sea for the first day. During the three days the 31 teams have to race 333 kilometers against the clock including a 41 kilometer special stage along the banks of the Jordan River. Due to the logistical problems, this schedule is now subject to change.
-source: van merksteijn motorsport