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After two rallies held on the coast of the Persian Gulf, the Middle East Rally Championship now heads north west to Jordan. Between the capital Amman and the Dead Sea, Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson will be competing again in a rally that featured on the World Rally Championship calendar on three occasions between 2008 and 2011.

For Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, this is a very familiar setting: this will be the Abu Dhabi driver’s twelfth Jordan Rally. He won here in 2007.

“The Jordan Rally has a unique character in our championship,” noted Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi. “I can’t wait to get started. I’m going to try and score as many points as possible. I want to be fighting to finish on the podium again.”

The specific surface of the roads running along the banks of the Dead Sea contrast with those used earlier in the year in Qatar and Kuwait: “There are many factors that must be taken into consideration. The high temperatures can have a negative effect on the performance of the tyres. And although the rally’s twenty or so stages are all fairly short, the route is rather complicated. We have a test session planned before the start of the rally to adjust the set-up of our Citroën DS3 RRC. It will be important to adapt the engine settings, as the majority of the stages will be contested below sea level. As regards the chassis, the car will need to be well balanced to be quick on the mix of gravel roads, where the surface varies from pretty rough to more slippery.”

The five Abu Dhabi Racing – Citroën Middle East Trophy crews will also be competing in this, the third round of the season. Mohamed Al Mutawaa and Mohamed Al Sahlawi, the top two at both of the opening two events, have the advantage of having taken part in last year’s rally. For Mansoor Bel Helei, Saeed Bintouq and Juma Al Falasi, Jordan will be another stage on their learning curve in the Citroën DS3 R3s.

After the ceremonial start in Amman and a super special stage held in the Al Abdali district on Thursday, 1 May at 5.35pm, the crews will head for the banks of the Dead Sea, where the service park will be set up. Ten stages will be contested on Friday’s leg. The longer second day will also be made up of ten timed stages, over a total of 148.34 kilometres. The rally is scheduled to finish on Saturday, 3 May at 6.15pm.

Middle East Rally Championship standings (after two rounds)
1. Nasser Al Attiyah 50 points
2. Khalid Al Qassimi 33 points
3. Yazeed Al Rajhi 27 points
4. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari 26 points
5. Abdullah Al Kuwari 16 points…

Junior Middle East Rally Championship standings (after two rounds)
1. Mohamed Al Mutawaa 50 points
2. Mohamed Al Sahlawi 36 points
3. Mansoor Bel Helei 30 points
4. Juma Al Falasi and Saeed Bintouq 12 points

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