MERC: Jordan Rally history

Jordan international Rally is a very special rally in Middle East Championship (MERC). It is also a rally with long history. International, regional and local competitors have long respected the Jordan International Rally (JIR) for the...

Jordan international Rally is a very special rally in Middle East Championship (MERC). It is also a rally with long history. International, regional and local competitors have long respected the Jordan International Rally (JIR) for the organization and for the wealthy human respect and interest in all aspects. It is also a rich source of human-interest stories for newspaper and magazine. The rally possesses something for everyone, competitors from almost all parts of the Middle East usually compete in the event.

The JIR is known for its long dessert stages, which make great demands on the skills and stamina of competitors. Jordan is a country of surprising contrast and variety; this can be noticed through the different special stages. The terrain provides a magnificent backdrop for television and film coverage. From gravel to desert tracks, the rally poses a daunting task for the unwary driver.

Since the beginning, the RACJ has continuously improved upon the high quality and professionalism of the event. It will forever be a tribute to the late King, his Majesty King Hussein, who as an enthusiastic motor sport fan, competitor and champion, did so much to establish motor sport in this young and developing Kingdom. Following his father's steps, King Abdulla Ben Al Hussien is also a competitor and champion, Prince Feisal l Ben Al Hussien is another member of the Royal family to work for his father highly valued sport. Prince Feisal Bin Al Hussein is the Chairman of Motor Sport Executive Council, with his personal follow up and instructions, motor sport in Jordan is becoming a more popular sport.

First official JIR was in 1981. The Lebanese driver Michel Saleh with his co-driver Tony Samia took the first position in Toyota Celica GT Second was Nabil Dirani (HKJ) with his co-driver Osama Marar (HKJ) in Renault 17 Gordini, and that was the first and last time a Jordanian stand in the second position. No Jordanian has ever won the rally. Third position was for Ziad Bustami (HKJ) Mu'taz Dikr (HKJ) in Datsun 160J SSS.

In 1982 Michel Saleh did a second victory, which was taken by Saeed Al Hajiri in 1983.

Mohd. Bin Sullayem entered the hot competition in 1984 and won his first international event in his Toyota Celica Turbo. Second position was for Michel Saleh. In 1985 Saeed Al Hajiri was the one to be declared as Rothmans Jordan Rally championship pushing Bin Sullayem to the third position in that year and to the second position in 1986. HRM Abdullah ( Prince Abdullah at that time ) took the third position with his Jordanian co-driver Amr Bilbeisi in Opel Manta 400.

In 1987 Mohd. Bin Sullayem succeeded in keeping Saeed Al Hajiri in second position, While jordanian driver Hani Bisharat was in third position in Toyota Celica GT.

In 1988 Mohd. Bin Sullayem did it again with Saeed Al Hajiri, he took the title after a fierce competition . H.R.M King Abdullah and Ali Bilbeisi classified third in Opel Manta 400.

In 1990 Mohd. Bin Sullayem took another record for the rally. The JIR cancelled in 1991 due to some local political situation. In 1992 Abbas Al Mosawi (QA) finished first on podium in Toyota Celica GT4

Sh. Hamad Al-Thani (QA) won 1993 event in Mitsubishi Gallant VR4 And Moudar Al-Asad (SYR) Mansour Zaqqa (RL) in Nissan Pulsar GTI-R took the second place. Third was Amjad Farrah (HKJ) in Toyota Corolla GT.

Mohd. Bin Sullayem came back to Jordan rally after long absence, but this time to compete with Abdullah Bakhashab. In 1994 Mohd. Bin Sullayem won the event and Bakhashab took the second place. Bakhashab golden chance was in 1995 where he got his first title as Jordan Rally Champion. Ma'rouf Abu Samra (HKJ) was in the third place in Ford Sierra Cosworth 4x4.

Last 5 years of JIR were a story to tell for Bin Sullayem. It became like a "standard " result for him to be always in first position. He took the rally in 1996,97,98,99. In 2000 he got his victory after facing some problems with the organizing committee. Finally he was announce as the winner of 2000.

FIA was going to cancel the rally for this year, but with the efforts of Prince Feisal and RACJ, it came back again. It is also said that Bin Sulyem shared in this effort to get the rally back to MERC.

Bin Sullayem getting ready for his next victory, Andreas Tsoulftas of Cyprus and local Jordanian heroes, Ma'rouf Abu Samra and Amjad Farrah will be amongst the regional stars lining up for the start of this year's event.

Jordan rally will be different this year, and it is going to be special event with a new team of organisers, headed by HRH Prince Feisal Bin El-Hussein, taking the first steps of an ambitious plan to establish the rally as a premier world motor sports event.

the jordan intl. rally is the 4th round of this year MERC after the "Tour of Cyprus" Rally was postpone.

It will held between 17-19 of May.

- Jihad Hakij

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Amjad Farrah , Michel Saleh