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This week’s Jordan Rally makes a welcome return to the King Abdullah bin Talal Convention Centre by Hilton on the sun-baked shores of the Dead Sea.

Situated at the lowest place on earth, the state-of-the-art complex has hosted the prestigious World Economic Forum on several occasions and played centre stage during three golden years when the Hashemite Kingdom hosted a round of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Jordan is keen to return to the world’s premier rally series in the near future and the switch back to the convention centre is a clear message to the FIA that Jordan is serious about returning to the top echelon of the rallying calendar.

“The Jordan Rally has maintained its world-class standards to ensure that when the WRC family is ready to return to this region then we are a willing long term partner,” said David Williams, spokesman for Jordan Motorsport.

“We continue to talk with our friends at the WRC about a return to Jordan, but in the meantime we will continue to perform to the high levels expected for such a prestigious championship.”

The Middle East’s leading drivers have now arrived at the Dead Sea for the third round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and will start their two-day reconnaissance of some of the finest gravel special stages on the planet on Tuesday morning.

Seen as one of the most popular rounds of the WRC amongst many of the leading drivers - such as former winners Mikko Hirvonen, Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier - and members of the world’s media, the event also saw one of the closest and most exciting finishes in rallying history.

“This rally has a special place in my memories and was one of the most demanding rounds of the WRC,” said Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah. “The stages can be slippery, technical and unforgiving. I have an impressive record here and would like to win again and continue my quest for another Middle East title.”

Stage reconnaissance will be followed on Thursday (May 5) by an official drivers’ Q&A session in Abdali from 14.30hrs that precedes an autograph signing session, the ceremonial start and the opening timed super special stage.

The meat of the action is centred around the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley areas on Friday (May 6) and Saturday (May 7).

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