Jordan Rally Becomes Two Day Event
Jordan Rally action to begin on Friday
The competitive stages scheduled for the opening day of the Jordan Rally have been cancelled owing to the late arrival of the service park infrastructure.
The decision to change the first day’s schedule was made collectively and we can all look forward to the ceremonial start tomorrow evening in Jerash.
Rally organisers met with the FIA this afternoon (Wednesday) to agree a revised schedule. Although the much-delayed boat carrying 37 trucks filled with equipment essential to the running of the rally docked at the Israeli port of Haifa at 11:00hrs, the convoy then had to clear customs at Haifa and at the Jordan border on the journey to Rally HQ.
Since the trucks are not expected to arrive at the service park until midnight on Wednesday, organisers had no option but to reschedule Thursday’s activities.
“The ship that has been bringing the equipment has broken down twice en route from Europe but thankfully the vehicles are now on land and will be at the Dead Sea tonight [Wednesday],” said Randa Nabulsi, Clerk of the Course. “The decision to change the first day’s schedule was made collectively and we can all look forward to the ceremonial start tomorrow evening in Jerash and then the start of the rally on Friday morning.”
Thursday’s revised schedule will include pre-event scrutineering from 07:00hrs to 10:30hrs, shakedown from 12:30hrs to 14:30hrs, the official FIA pre-event press conference at 14:30hrs and the ceremonial start at the ancient city of Jerash from 17.30hrs.
Friday’s and Saturday’s schedules will run as originally planned, which means that the first competitive stage of the Jordan Rally will be SS7, Suwayma, with the first cars leaving the service park at 08:45hrs on Friday.
Cancelled stages adds to cleaning handicap, says Hirvonen
The cancellation of the first day's competitive stages on the Jordan Rally has added to the challenge faced by Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's Mikko Hirvonen this weekend.
He will now have just one day to recoup any time lost as a result of running first on the road this Friday.
“It’s not the greatest position to be in,” Hirvonen told WRC.com. “Normally I would have two days to catch up after a day of sweeping the road. This leaves me with one and it’s a tough event anyway.”
The first drivers on the road in gravel events are usually hindered by loose surface materials which are gradually swept away by the passage of other cars. On the Jordan Rally there is the added hazard of hundreds of sharp rocks lining the stages.
“If people aren’t playing tactics it may not be such a problem,” said Hirvonen. “It all depends how dirty the stages are. Some of them don’t look bad although some of them are a little soft.
“We will just have to make the best of it and do what we can.”