Difficult opening day for Peter van Merksteijn jr. in WRC Jordan Rally
Peter van Merksteijn jr. experienced a difficult first day in the during the WRC Jordan Rally which has been plagued by building delays. Together with his co-driver Eddy Chevaillier he struggled to get through the morning and settled into a better rhythm in the afternoon to finish eventually in a 15th position with his Citrokn DS3 WRC.
Due to the political unrest in Syria, the organization was forced to search for an alternative route to guarantee the safety of the truck drivers. A boat travelling from Trieste in Italy had to transport the 37 trucks carrying the equipment of the teams and the WRC organization to the port of Haifa in Israel. En route the boat suffered from multiple engine failures and a storm of the Haifa coast at time of arrival resulted that the trucks arrived in the service park at the Dead Sea 3 days too late. The organization of the WRC Jordan Rally was forced to cancel the opening day on Thursday and the competitors had to do the reconnaissance of the special stages in 4x4 rental cars instead of the specially prepared recce cars.
The consequences of this poor preparation became evident on the first day that the teams came in to action. The artificial constructed roads follow very unnatural lines and the drivers cannot see where the next corner is heading to and is frequently surprised by an unexpected situation. In combination with troubles with the car's intercom he briefly went off the road on the last stage of the morning but could resume the stage without any damage.
This is a very difficult rally and tougher than I expected.
After having improved the pacenotes a bit with the morning experiences, Peter jr. could set more competitive stage times in the by Van Merksteijn Motorsport entered Citrokn DS3 WRC. The pace of the car was increased and the Dutch driver could match the times set by the other WRC drivers, climbing three positions in the classification. Finishing the first day of action in the Jordan Rally, the entrants had to drive the 41 kilometer stage along the banks of the Jordan River. A very tough task for the drivers who had to endure the high temperatures and lots of dust in the cars.
"This is a very difficult rally and tougher than I expected. The lack of my usual recce car has been a serious problem and that has slowed me down considerably this morning" according to Peter van Merksteijn jr. "In the afternoon I could set better times but the feeling with the car is not exactly the way how I want it to be. During the evening service we want to make some changes so I hope things will be better tomorrow. Tonight we will view the video's of the recce again and try to limit the problems we experienced this morning for tomorrow."
-source: Van Merksteijn